Getting the Gateway set up

 I’ve had my Gateway for a week, and finally have it set up pretty much the way I intend to use it.  It is what we call my dogfood machine. I’ll wind up using it for the vast majority of my OneNote use, email, other office applications, etc..  It’s like living with perpetual alpha and beta software – always knowing about bugs which need workarounds, living with incomplete UI, being tasked with running with different language settings, etc… 


My first task was getting a version of Windows installed.  The tablet came with Vista on it.  It also came with a registered(!) copy of OneNote – free plug for Gateway here, that’s quite a value IMHO – and some other “real world” software preinstalled.  Adobe Acrobat, Real Player and some Gateway unique software.  My first temptation is to wipe the machine and install Vista “clean” – no third party software at all.  That definitely helps with testing since any bugs I find would not depend on any conflicts caused by those utilities.


But that is not real world.  Machines ship with these utilities, and while OneNote has no great number of dependencies, I still need to  verify we have no conflicts.  After installing some basic tools we all use (bug tracking software, a lightweight debugger ( and some other basic applications I know I will always need,  I made an image of the hard drive so I can restore the machine to it’s original state any time down the line.  Once I had that, I installed Vista 64 bit and imaged it, Vista 32 bit (clean this time), imaged it, and will get XP loaded next.  Now I will be set up for testing for quite a while. 


“We need to focus on 64 bit testing next week?  No problem, I’ll restore my image.”

“You want me to install the German Language Pack on Windows XP and verify dialogs and strings?  No problem, I’ll restore my image and go.”

“You need to dogfood some right-to-left language , you pick, Hindi date format (use Urdu language settings at this point?), 133 dots per square inch screen resolution using high contrast, with a 56K modem, Office Home and Student on Vista Home Basic and add a tool to increase network latency to 5 seconds?  I’m on it.”

And so on.  Wiping and restoring images gets to be routine.


Comments, criticisms, questions and concerns,


Comments (2)

  1. Kathy Jacobs says:


    You say "other basic tools" – can you elaborate? For example, SnagIt or equivalent? screen recording software for test cases? Any kind of general "where am I in the schedule? tools?

    I would also be curious to hear whether you test with any of the OneNote extras installed. If so, which ones?

    Curiousity… It’s gonna get me one of these days!

  2. JohnGuin says:

    Hi Kathy,

    The tools I keep around in every image are:

    Spy++ from Visual Studio.  Handy for tracking windowing behavior.

    Windiff: again, from Visual Studio

    a handful of batch files I have left over to help me navigate around my unique files structure quickly from the command line

    And an internal tool named "scopy" which works like a lightweight Spy++ but is limited to copying text out of dialogs.

    I also set a bunch of regkeys and other customizations (like Notepad on my Send To menu, turning off a ton of the alerts which Windows fires the first few times it gets started – since I’m always restoring images, this "first run" code gets called many, many times – and custom wallpapers, etc…).

    As far as addins go to test with, I use the Copy to Mobile Device almost daily, the Table of Contents addin several times per week, and the text importer rarely.  Overall, though, we use this as test cases in addition to "just" using them.  When we get new builds of OneNote, they serve as a quick test to make sure we did not break extensibility.  

    I’m also looking twice at the Favorites toy.  I think I can use it to keep track of all the notebooks we use around here.  It is a pain to wipe a machine and then look around for the 15 or so notebook links to re-locate and re-open the notebooks with the new install of Office.  The Favorites toy might make that much easier…

    As far as scheduling goes, I use the terminal server set up in one of our labs.  It has all the tools pre-installed on it and keeps me from having to keep them up to date and the like.