Saturday, May 30, 2009

New Computers and Old Methods

Recently (yesterday) I got a new laptop. It is an HP and I actually got a pretty good deal on it. Unfortunately it is an HP and it didn't come with the option to downgrade (upgrade) to XP. So at the moment it is running Vista (don't worry I will make it a dual boot and put Linux on it, I need it for research). As part of connecting to the UNC network you have to register the MAC address of the Ethernet car and wireless card. This is fairly standard for a secured network so you would think that finding the MAC address would be a fairly standard and easy process.

Most of you know that the only way you can get XP to tell you a MAC address is to open a command prompt and type in ipconfig /all to get the networking information. So when I started up Vista I assumed that they would have done something about this and would have made finding the MAC address easier (say putting it in the control panel, under internet and networking options, for example, like they do in Mac OSX), you know, making it possible to find it through the GUI like everything else they do. Well I checked the internet and the only way to get Vista to tell you the MAC address is, you guessed it, ipconfig /all.

They have just about everything else that can be accessed through the GUI you would think they would include the MAC address, but that would be too logical. Maybe Windows 7....(maniacal laughter).


  1. Well, if you are going into astrophysics, you will probably at some point be forces to use a lot of command lines.

    Nick, am I wrong? Could you get very much research done without a command line or know anyone in computational astrophysics who does?

    Oh yeah, I forgot, Ubuntu has a GUI for this. :) You right click on the network manager icon then select "connection information" so you can always upgrade to Ubuntu 9.04. Actually, typing "ifconfig" is still faster so in reality I would still use that method.

  2. I don't know of anyone who does any serious numerical work that doesn't use a linux-based OS and generally that means either running Mac OS X or a dual boot (my experience is that 95% or those are Windows/Ubuntu and most of the rest are Windows/Red Hat). The simple reason for this is the power of the command line and the ability to remotely connect to large machines, which almost universally run some form of Linux.

    For people that aren't doing numerical work but are instead analyzing large data-sets, I have seen quite a few that get around using the command-line entirely by using Matlab (which of course has its own command-line). But other than that, pretty much everybody that uses a computer as a research and analysis tool uses the command-line.


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