Sunday, September 28, 2008

64-Bit Vaio Ships With 32-Bit Windows?

{Edit: although it seems from my googling that this has been an issue with some Vaios, it is not with mine...I received a 32-bit comp. Disregard, but thanks for all the input!}

It seems that my Sony SR should be able to run the 64-bit version of Visa, but ships with the 32-bit. Grr.

I'm only an average computer user, so it's not clear to me yet how easy it'll be to solve this problem. My understanding is that when installing a new OS you want to wipe the hard drive clean, but then I'd lose all the stuff that came pre-installed. It looks like I can get a physical copy of the 64-bit OS from Microsoft for a nominal fee, but I've read that installation on Vaios can be problematic because of the Sony drivers.

I'll be phoning various Sony and Microsoft tech help in the next few days to try and find a solution. Until then: if you're ordering a 64-bit computer and want the 64-bit OS, you should check and see which version comes pre-installed.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

New Toy

I received my Sony Vaio SR laptop today. So far, so good. I've managed to put ChessBase 9, Fritz 9 and CT-ART on it and test them out. The latter two required some googling to figure out how to get them to work in Vista, but everything seems to check out so far. I'm not looking forward to transferring the 4 GB of endgame tablebases over.

Fritz 9 is running at over double the kN/s on the laptop. I'm tempted to try playing my two computers against each other and see how the laptop stacks up.

I've started to shop around for Rybka. I'm interested in picking up other free engines that I can pit against each other in engine tournaments. If anyone has some favorite engines, feel free to share your thoughts.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Brief Update

I'm still alive, but I've been distracted by other things. For much of the fall I have to work when the local chess club meets. Lately I've been slowly plugging away at collections of old master games, but haven't had any "Aha! this would be good blog material!" eureka moments.

I've ordered a laptop for work and for play, so I expect once it arrives I'll be spending more time organizing material and training. I would be very interested in hearing from people how the new Rybka 3 stacks up to the previous release. Until now, I've been using my old Fritz 9, but I've been hearing "Rybka says this, Rybka says that" for a long time now.

I'd also like to hear if anyone feels that it is worthwhile to upgrade from Chessbase 9 to Chessbase 10. I haven't heard a compelling reason to do so yet...although if it's easier to keep your reference database up-to-date that alone may be worth the price. Currently I do the online updates that download TWIC files...but I tend to put it off and have to manually search their archives. Either way, I still have to cannibalize each TWIC and incorporate into my reference DB.

I have no illusions that new engines or database software will translate directly into better chess skills...but as a hobbyist I enjoy what these programs can do. For example, I'm interested in the use of engine tournaments to assess various positions, as described in Nunn's Secrets of Practical Chess. However, all I really have are Fritz 9/7/5 engines at the moment, which strikes me as incestuous. I've tried a few free engines such as Crafty, but they've caused crashes when trying to run engine tournaments.

Any thoughts on Rybka 3, Chessbase 10 or other nifty software?