Today, I discovered that FireFox 220.127.116.11 doesn't have Flash installed. So I attempted (unsuccessfully) to install it. Automatic installation failed (FireFox's fault). Manual installation failed (Adobe's fault?). Note that Internet Explorer (rendered unusable by requiring me to type URLs with a leading http://) is running Flash just fine. I thought FireFox was too.
Anyway, so I quit FireFox and try to install Flash again. (I've clicked "Continue" or "Run" or whatever approximately 50x by this point.) Flash's installer is "automatic" in that "you can't fix it yourself" and sometimes manages to spawn hidden windows or, occasionally, to appear to disappear (have no visible presence on screen) and then reappear. Anyway, no Flash in FireFox.
So I launch FireFox and it tells me that it needs to wait for an install to complete, and I should restart. So I do.
Vista takes about 60s to shut down (heck, Tiger takes too long to shut down too) and then I try FireFox again. Same error message.
So I download a new copy of FireFox (more "Continue" "Run" "Yes I really really mean it" B.S.) and it produces a horrible error message saying that it could do something it needed to do. (Definitely blame FireFox.)
So I uninstall FireFox (it's still more-or-less in the same place in the control panel) and attempt to install again.
Oops, when I clicked "Run" rather than "Save" Windows tossed away the installer. It's probably there ... somewhere ... but easier to download a fresh copy (and "Save" it this time).
I run the new installer and ... same error message.
So, I download Opera, which appears to work. (I'm typing this in Opera.) Then I download FireFox 18.104.22.168 -- which installs flawlessly -- but still won't run. It needs to allow a previous installation to complete.
I tried to make a movie (using SnagIt) of the wonderful sequence of dialogs you get when you attempt to do more-or-less anything in Vista but ... get this ... the "Cancel or Allow" system modal dialogs that dim the screen do not appear in screen captures.
Aside from anything else -- I don't think this is sinister, just incompetent -- it means that if you want to create instructional videos for users you can't show them what actually happens without jumping through a lot of hoops (e.g. filming your videos with a camcorder OR mocking up a "Cancel or Allow" dialog and editing your videos in a serious video editing app).
Maybe I just need a more bloody-minded screen capture program (e.g. fraps).
My laptop's video adapter's performance is absolutely abysmal (at least under Vista). Just how abysmal? Blender takes about one second to draw its splash screen (versus instantaneous on my near three year old iBook). Unity's web plugin warns me that I don't have any hardware 3d acceleration (um, supposedly the Quadro is roughly equivalent to a 7300 and far better than an Intel GMA 950). I noticed that the driver is written by Microsoft... Hmmm.
So I dutifully went to NVIDIA's website to download their latest driver and install it. But their installer said I had no compatible hardware.
Footnote: the Dell Latitude 620 I am using has 2GB of RAM, a Core Duo 2.0GHz, and an NVIDIA Quadro NVS 110M (64MB of dedicated RAM + shared). It should run a little slower than my wife's MacBook Pro for everything except 3D (the MacBook has an X1600).