I am just in the process of installing a new PC workstation, and while this may be a good time to upgrade (summer, some significant although not revolutionary hardware progress etc.), I have been of two minds. One option would be to go for a MAC workstation instead (probably waiting for the new MAC Pro to be released in the fall presumably). A primary reason for this is that I think a MAC would be better at handling my setup - in particular in terms of using many screens and having many simultaneous windows and programs open at the same time.
I have encountered this infrastructural Windows-based weakness for many, many years now. What happens it that Windows inevitably will run out of resources if you have many windows open at the same time. I use Windows 7 64 bit now and have the same problem as I have had since the beginning. You can try it through continuing to open windows (let’s say browser windows) until the system starts to behave strangely -eventually window elements will not display properly, new windows will not open, and the computer will be close to a crash (although it may not actually crash). There are tweaks to come around this problem partly, and I think I know most of them, but essentially, these do not solve the basic problem. And however upgraded your system is in terms of memory and other resources, it does not really matter.
Essentially I think this is a matter of old infrastructure and one designed for having one fairly low-resolution screen. I use many screens at the same time and many, many windows, and really dislike this bottleneck. I am sure a MAC would manage much better, but then I would lose some other things I like (particular pieces of software I use on the Windows PC for instance). Also, I have tried MACs many times, and have not really got into it, although I think replacing the main workstation would probably make it different.
I think I will try Windows once more however. I will have to be careful as to GDI use, and in particular, I think I could look at which browser is best from this point of view. It might help somewhat, but I think I will end up in the same situation again. One positive factor, however, may be that I do not use remote desktop as much as I used to - it seems that RDP can make the situation worse.
Digitial Humanities article series (soon finished)
Later today I hope to resubmit the fourth article in the four-part series on digital humanities that I have been working on for quite some time. It is a big project and a very fun and rewarding one. The fourth article- on Envisioning the Digital Humanities - has turned out nicely I think. It is also timely I feel while fairly substantial (just like most of the other installments). I have enjoyed working with Digital Humanities Quarterly, and I am glad they took the articles on although there was no guarantee that all the pieces would qualify after peer review.
This said, I am looking forward to pursuing some other research directions.
Tomorrow they will start to install a plant wall in the new part of HUMlab (HUMlab-3). I am very curious to see how it integrates into a space that I think has come together really nicely. The plant wall could be said to be a non-functional part of the space, but I really see it as important to function and energy.