158 posts • joined 23 Jan 2008
Hardly an over-reaction,
more like a surprisingly restrained response to the seemingly unending catalogue of presumptuousness and arrogance from a large corporation as it seeks to entrench it's monopolistic dreams, and milk its customers, with a piece of software that first and foremost is intended to serve the interests of said corporation.
Word is a functional and ergonomic disaster, barely suitable for writing letters, let alone any serious document. The only reason it continues to thrive (if that is the right word) is because of Microsoft's success in persuading/bullying large institutions and corporate entities into using it as the default standard.
MS can't be blamed for that, it's a corporate entity itself---it's what they do. The problem is we're talking about a tool. And anyone who uses tools knows that the best kind are the ones you hardly notice you are using because their design functionality and aesthetics have been so well honed to performing the intended task that that is all the user is concious of doing---getting the job done, without having to wrestle the tool into submission, or worry whether it is going to let them down.
MS Word is not that kind of tool, it's the other kind---a cynical bit of money grubbing corporate w*nk.
Now some may say that the above is an over-reaction, but considering what Word could be, given the time MS have had to make it into something useful and usable, I would argue my response is proportionate and finely judged. Of course others may beg to differ.
gains resilience through diversity, i.e. monocultural tendencies are dangerous to long-term survivability.
While superficially attractive, the desire for the OS equivalent of a monoculture is wrong-headed. Windows OS is a real world demonstrator---albeit a pretty crap one---of the dangers of wanting everything to 'just work' by being 'the same'---it simply opens the door to large scale attacks and the rapid propagation of faults generally.
A highly diversified system where there is always an alternative way of getting something done is inconvenient and apparently 'inefficient', but only when taking a short term or localised view.
The old fashioned 'Unix' way of small open source tools doing one thing simply and well, that can be strung together in any number of arbitrary combinations is still one well worth hanging on to.
It allows anyone to sit down and craft the tools they need, if what is on offer commercially or in house isn't quite scratching the itch. And it keeps the ecosystem lively and diverse.
If that applies at the local level it applies just as much, and even more importantly on a global scale. We really don't want to make ourselves even more vulnerable to pwnage than we already are.
There are no panaceas, but I would put up with a fair degree of 'inconvenience' for the sake of a robust diverse application/OS ecosystem that actually inconveniences the state/criminal scum and assorted other ratbags by an order of magnitude.
Apologies to Bob Dylan
'Something is happening, but you don't know what it is, do you, Microsoft?'
In the corporate cycle MS has reached 'Maturity, heading into Senescence' stage. Too big, too bloated, too arrogant, too late.
Re: top tip
You do realise that this may simply be evidence supporting the old proverb about fools and their money being easily parted; or alternatively that there are always those who have more money than sense, etc.?
OTOH, it could just be great kit, and even after eight years they got good value for their money. I wouldn't know.
The logic might pass, but the premise is problematic, to say the least.
'The universe is infinite' - sounds cool, and in an abstract form it is cool, but what does it actually mean? Outside of a mathematical formula we actually have no idea what it means in practice because we still have such a meagre understanding of what is actually going on.
Rather like someone at the bottom of a very deep shaft claiming they know what it's like outside the shaft on the basis of what they can see through the hole way up there at the top. What they will see is a tiny bit of night sky, occasionally occluded by cloud. They may make some remarkably accurate deductions and assumptions, but until they manage to climb out they will never really 'know' what is there and how it all hangs together from a different, and much bigger, point of view.
Extrapolate and fantasize away, but please don't dress either up as 'fact' until you can plausibly demonstrate what is actually true.
Let the explorations and adventure continue...
'Military Grade' <=>'Windows OS': Does not compute!
It is interesting, and sad,
that there seem to be so many people who apparently would not recognise Freedom, even if it came up and opened the door of their prison cell, and told them to go.
The prison has become their home and they are too frightened and too institutionalised to dare to leave, or even to want to.
Whatever the 'rights' and 'wrongs' of what Snowden has done, no one can complain that he has not lifted the lid on a can of worms that many have long known of or suspected, but been quite happy to leave unopened, and carefully filed in the 'Too difficult and embarrassing' tray.
It is less and less tenable to talk about 'patriotism' and 'nationhood' as the ultimate goals of human loyalty and identity---if they ever were---with any kind of intellectual credibility. Many today are more loyal to their global corporate employers than to any political expression of nationhood.
Snowden's expose really has less to do with any kind of patriotic allegiance to a nation state, than with seeing overweening 'state/corporate' power in relation to how ordinary human beings, in the conduct of normal day to day domestic relationships, can go about their affairs without being spied on as though they are the property/slaves of 'the state', or its equivalent corporate entity.
before anyone passes out with appleplexy over the wanton misrepresentation of facts by El Reg, it's worth bearing in mind all those fanbois and girls currently using their non-UK chargers in the UK by dint on a smaller converter plug.
Don't these sad cases deserve some love, and fair warning?
Who needs Android anyway?
Sure, if you're in 'corporate drone' mode and forced to use what the man gives you, or you haven't a clue and just buy what the sales droid tells you, then Android (or the half eaten fruit thing) is likely to be your lot.
OTOH, this isn't 1993. There's far more scope for diversity in the ecosystem today, if people want it. Conformity to Google's way is really only an issue to those who are striving to make a living in the mass market. For those willing/wanting to serve niche markets you can still be talking about thousands, even hundreds of thousands of users, and an archtecture that is wide open to being able to scratch their itch. And allow them that smug glow of satisfaction in knowing that they are not part of the Goopleopoly. [sorry].
Re: @ Alan Denman
Turtle, your analysis is far too romantic. This isn't black hats v. white hats, it's shareholders, managment, and geeks all greedy for profit, fighting tooth and nail for any advantage they can get within the law, and sometimes overstepping the law if they think they can get away with it.
The scenario is much more like the Cold War where the big players fight each other through vicious proxy wars, and only occasionally come face to face---war, after all is very expensive and so best that others pay the price.
However, it seems that at present the war between the tech giants has no really effective MAD doctrine, and there is yet no real will/compulsion to stand down from the tit for tat sniping that everyone finds so wearisome, and such a drag on dynamic creativity across the field of play. Until either there is a certainty of 'mutually assured destruction' or various legal systems bang heads together the war of attrition will continue.
Re: There is still something wrong with the look of Linux desktop
Yeah, it's weird that, isn't it? Except for me it's the other way round, and has been for years. My Linux desktops are graphically fantastic, but there's something off in the way Windows handles fonts on lots of installations. Maybe the problem lies in the way both systems don't always get setup with optimal graphics, or maybe you're just enjoying spreading a little FUD?
Either way, I have to say I've saved a sackload of money since I ditched the whole Windows + applications upgrade merry-go-round eight years ago.
Regardless of the facts...
about repairability and longevity the fact remains that if you buy from Apple you are being gouged blind. Rather less so by other manufacturers.
Most of us seldom seem to keep our phones much beyond the contract period. There seems good reason to imagine that most people won't keep their slabs for much longer than two or three years either; assuming they haven't already dropped it down the bog, or had it trodden on by a stampeding heard of children, or written off by whoever is intent on finding some plausible excuse for replacing it with the latest shiny.
As an intellectual and technological excercise...
great fun---toys for the boys. On almost every other level: O dear. One day the US of A might get over itself. Hubris is very cruel, and as usual it's the weakest and most vulnerable who bear the brunt of the consequences. Perhaps the US has better things to be doing with its brightest minds and ever growing national debt.
A long long time ago...
in a city far far away, two floors underground in the dead files archive: switching off the lights and hunting each other in the pitch black, with 200x15mm rubber bands, in the maze of shelving and collapsing piles of old patient notes. Some preferred the silence of an ambush while others crept up on their prey. Either way you could smell the fear.
Regarding the efficiency (or not) of the rough surface...
I think what posters above are looking for is the term 'laminar flow'. Not my field of expertise, but it can certainly make a huge difference to the 'slipperiness' of an object moving through a medium (liquid or gas).
However, from what I recall, it is a bit if a black art when it comes to getting it right. So, whether the degree of roughness of LOHAN's surface will increase or decrease the drag experienced at a given air density and velocity would require the expertise of someone who actually knows what they are talking about. Either way I doubt it would make a significant difference, unless the team's objective to to extract every possible bit of performance out of LOHAN. Still, it may be a conversation worth having as a genuinely shiny paint job will certainly add weight.
Re: Ubuntu @Jedidiah
Metrognome, I'm sorry you have such unlucky friends. Can't say in all the scratch builds I have put together over the years (getting on for a dozen), I have never had any major problem installing Linux. Wifi cards have caused a few issues, not recently, but that's about it.
Re: I bet a lot more people would switch if...
No they wouldn't. Most people don't care what OS they are using, and even if they did they wouldn't have the nerve to change it themselves.
In fact many Linux distros can be installed 'non-destructively' as you put it, and uninstalled if not wanted, no big deal. But, the user still has to have the interest to give it a go, whether it's Windows, Linux, OSX, or anything else---most do not.
Re: How does this help?
You're really on a FUD offensive, aren't you. Well go, keep us all entertained.
Funnily enough, when I need to change my screen resolution I click on 'Settings' on the toolbar; then 'Display'; adjust the screen resolution, and click 'Okay'---this is Linux BTW.
Are you calling from 1996 or something?
Re: Horrible, horrible, horrible!
Nope, sorry. I've owned reasonably decent compact cassette kit, and as far as I'm concerned the format had only one redeeming feature---portability. Apart from that from the consumer's [and I use the word deliberately] point of view it was crap. From a capitalist seller's point of view, however, it was a wet dream as people had to regularly replace ruined tapes---perfect 'disposable/limited lifespan' product with a high profit margin.
Horrible, horrible, horrible!
One of the worst bits of consumer technology of the 20th Century; I should know, I spent a large amount of my tiny teenage and student disposable income through the 70s and 80s on useless tape-mangling pieces of electronic crap. Good riddance.
[is led away from the soapbox with flecks of foam dripping from mouth and a deranged look in the eyes]
MS's biggest mistake,...
one they still haven't really let go of: believing they have the RIGHT to own desktop computing---and not just at the point of sale, but throughout the lifetime of the user's experience.
"What we really want, what we really really want, is to own you, or more specifically, your wallet. It's about developing the user as a money stream that never dries up, and can never escape. Not that we are alone in this dream of capitalist kleptocratic nirvana, but we have been, and to some extent still are, one of the most powerful players in this game."
"User's rights to own their own computing power and their own data? Pah! What idiotic dream is that? No, folks we'll look after all of the nasty complicated technology, all you need to do is just keep on paying us, over and over and over again; while at the same time we will ensure you have less and less control over every aspect of what you are paying for. Have a nice day suckers [ahem] customers."
"You're not recording this are you?"
Re: Oh My God It's Nuclear!!
Just for the record, I'm fairly agnostic about nuclear power as a viable source of energy when set against the other options; and certainly in the near term (next twenty to fifty years), it may well be critical, BUT there remain huge unanswered questions which are more to do with poilitcs and economics than technology.
There also remains the underlying and huge assumptions about 'human progress'---it is by no means a given. Civilizations rise and fall, but the decay rate of nuclear waste remains immutable.
NP is NOT cheap, neither are most other forms of generation, but to act as though somehow NP is a panacea is just foolishness, no different to the wind power advocates who cannot seem to grasp the fundamental weaknesses of that particular method, and so on...
Philosophically, if we can guarantee the ongoing 'progress' of humanity into some technological wonderland then NP is a jolly good bet. If we can't then it's just another bit of nest fouling, along with all the other shit we are dumping on the future. Like bacteria, maybe we're just accelerating towards that day when the resources in the petri dish run out and that's it---it was fun while it lasted, well for some at least.
Then again, who knows what may happen?
At the risk of...
a severe downvoting, it's worth remembering that the 'safety' of nuclear power is largely a product of neurotic attention to what could happen if it all goes seriously pear shaped. The 'safety' isn't intrinsic to the process, it comes at a phenomenal cost, as does the power produced.
Whether, in the long term, NP is significantly more 'dangerous' to overall human health when compared with other forms of generation is probably moot. But of all the means we have of generating electricity nuclear power is probably easily the most dependant on there being stable and reasonably affluent societies to maintain the systems that prevent NP from becoming a very long term problem to those who may lack the money, technology, or even the understanding, to keep the NP show on the road, let alone safe.
NP is a positivist technological gamble, it may pay off, but there are no guarantees.
Re: Welcome [back] to...
I trust that as a scholar in medieval literature and literature critic CS Lewis may be able to express himself with more 'class' and acuity than I, and many others, are able to. ;-)
Welcome [back] to...
...the Star Chamber.
As noted by others: secret justice is no justice at all.
Or, to put it with a little more class and depth, courtesy of CS Lewis: "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."
FWIW it seems that Oracle were caught out: it was the Measuring Committee that discovered the discrepancy, and only after several days of behind the scenes work did Oracle finally have to come clean in public having already asked for the whole matter to be kept quiet.
A small amount of lead (2.3kg) had been inserted in a short downward pointing spar attached to the outer section of the bowsprit (hence it's name 'dolphin striker'). It is a support strut for the cabling that stiffens the bowsprit against the upward pull of the forestay cable running from the end of the bowsprit to near the top of the wingsail.
2.3kg isn't a lot, but with the amount of leverage it exerts that far from the boat's centre of gravity it isn't insignificant. In fact it's purpose as a 'cheat' is irrelevant. The AC45s are built to a 'strict one design' rule so any tamperng with the setup that is not strictly permitted is strictly illegal and therefore subject to major penalties.
This story, in true America's Cup fashion, will run and run.
This really seems...
...to have rattled the cage labelled 'Sneering Haters', though I'm sure they could do better than that if they were really trying. But then the Edge doesn't really matter, does it, except to the people who are actually interested in joining in the experiment; and the sneering haters who just can't help themselves. Poor things.
There seem to be...
...a lot of glass half empty miserablists on the loose today. Maybe they, like me, can't spare the cash to try this out. Cry me a river, if the Ubuntu phone is a flaming turkey and everyone loses their money, the glass half empty miserablists will have their world-view confirmed; if it soars like a vulture looking out for well rotted carrion, don't worry, there will be something else along directly to be miserable about.
That is all.
Facebook doesn't use me, because I don't use Facebook. Who needs FB to have a life? FB doesn't actually matter.
And all in the best possible taste!!!!
...the Exchange Server at work pwned my phone (well all the bits that really mattered to me) I swore `never again'. BYOD is one of those shiny glittery concepts that turns out to be dangling in front of an enormous mouth full of snaggy teeth. No thanks.
i'd be willing...
...to stake a pint on the majority of users for the majority of the time being able to get by fine on nothing more sophisticated than .rtf. It's only the constant pushing of 'upgraded' default document formats that result in people creating their documents in formats that are complete overkill for writing a letter/essay, etc. i.e. a bog standard text document with maybe some bold and/or italic styling.
In other words, if push ever comes to shove, the dominance/necessity of .docx could suddenly fade like the morning mist, and become just another specialist format for those who actually need it.
Already millions of words are traded online via email and web pages which never see a 'Word' processor, let alone file format. History show that monopolies are almost always fleeting, however desperately the monopolist tries to sustain their stranglehold.
I'm not about to make any firm predictions, but I do believe it won't actually take very much in practice to end the idea that we somehow 'need' .doc/.docx.
Re: I'm just waiting
Upvoted to counter an apparently gratuitous downvote---too many of us do indeed lead sad lives, with far too much time on our hands.
The problem with Android...
...is that it's lumbered with hundreds of 'apps' that do something trivial, but still doesn't really have a core of applications that do something substantial. As a productivity OS Android still doesn't really have much to boast about and as long as that remains the case spending $500+ on hardware is simply giving a generous donation to needy hardware retailers and manufacturers <cough>.
Anyone needing to get work done and willing to pony up is better off dumping Android and getting a full-fat Linux on board.
"Intel has pinned the "sweet spot" for Android notebook pricing at around $500... Intel has specified that they should accommodate detachable keyboards, allowing them to work as either notebooks or tablets."
Roll up, suckers. You too can have your very own bit of cynical marketing driven fail. No doubt Intel has done extensive research finding out what people out here in 'the real world' actually want/need from their lightweight power stingy laptop devices---or, are they just taking a punt that the great unwashed will buy whatever shiny is put in front of their ignorant faces as long as it has the magic word 'Android' stuck on it?
'Doesn't' should be 'does'!
On a slightly more serious note...
...it wouldn't surprise me if Windows (unless MS really doesn't manage to pull something out of the bag) becomes increasingly a dedicated business OS given that sectors reluctance to depart from legacy systems (for perfectly legitimate reasons). Linux seems to be evolving far more rapidly and flexibly than a closed system like Windows or OSX can ever hope to achieve, and there are far too many players who will be very happy to avoid ever having to pay the 'Windows tax' in the future if they have any say in the matter.
...the comments of the dead men* walking---those who remain determined to believe (like old time Bible literalists) that Linux is irrelevant/useless/childish/a hobby/too hard/... Or, maybe they're just trolling at the end of a hard day at their Windows (obviously) coal face.
* I don't deny the dead women walking their chance in the spotlight.
Re: @Adair From what I've heard previously...
Dear Turtle, your ad hominem attack does you no credit. Good manners cost nothing, and help keep the discussion focussed on the matters in hand.
As for your actual points. Yes, you are quite correct on the points of fact (as far as they can be known), but there is more at stake than simply who is entitled to know what, isn't there?
Software patent law (esp. in the US, it seems), is currently a disgrace and a laughing stock that is ill serving both businesses and the consumers. Though it is doing very well for trolls, sharks, and lawyers.
While MS may well be perfectly within their rights to act as they are doing, the point is that their actions in this matter are of genuine interest to 'outside' observers (regardless of their 'rights', or lack of them, in the matter).
On the face of it we see MS acting in an oppressive manner typical of it's history in actively generating FUD in order to entrench it's monopolistic hold on the market. Whether it is entitled to act in this way is irrelevant. Whether it will be able to continue to act in this way remains to be seen.
MS is not a charity, it is a slave to the financial demands of its share holders. We may pity MS, we may resent MS' bullying hubris. We may also like to comment on what MS does because some of what they do, big as MS is, has an impact on myself and others.
From what I've heard previously...
...in this august establishment, if memory serves, is that some of the patents probably concern the implementation of FAT within the Linux kernel. But all the enforced secrecy simply discredits what may be a perfectly legitimate claim, and merely feeds suspicion that MS doesn't actually have any confidence that its claim would stand up to challenge. Instead it prefers to frighten its targets into paying up merely to avoid the expense of years of inconclusive litigation. As I said earlier: it's a protection racket by any other name.
Lovely factory you have there, shame if...
What gets me is the fact that MS won't come clean about what 'patents' are actually involved. As it stands this seems like nothing more than a good old protection racket. Utterly, utterly pathetic. Words fail me, and cynicism threatens to overwhelm me. Oh well, just another day in business then. <sigh>
...this was bound to happen eventually, as the technology both matures and moves on, and as the market saturates and also 'moves on'. There's always good money to be made at the top end of any market where the 'idiot tax' can be plausibly inflicted on those with more money than they know what to do with, or who are driven by fashion and status ambitions. Meanwhile the rest of the market is generally a dog fight over wafer thin margins. Tempted to say: nothing to see here, move along.
Re: Simple Explanation - MS MURDERED THE NETBOOK
Well, I stand by my first statement. The first manufacturers of netbooks had an opportunity to initiate something that could have genuinely subverted the MS hegemony, and they blew it. The hardware was pretty close to okay, not that memory issues and screen res. didn't need addressing, up to a point. But the OS implementation was generally woeful---regardless of whether it was Linux, XP, or whatever. And that was where the manufacturers blew it; along with allowing the great unwashed of the buying public to think they might be getting a fill blown 'PC' for nearly no money; that didn't help at all.
Someone further back up the line suggested that netbooks were still being churned out at 300 euros a pop, blah blah blah. That, my friend is NOT a 'netbook'; that is a small 'laptop' OR an excercise in gouging the gullible public.
Part of the essence of the 'netbook' concept is that you can drop it, lose it, have it run over without going 'ARRRGGGHHHH!!!', but instead be able to say, 'Damn, better get another one then'. 300 euros/pounds is not 'cheap as chips', it's jolly expensive for what should effectively be a disposable product.
Android, while fine as an OS for 'consumption' devices, continues to be pretty useless as a content production OS. That may change. When it does we may finally, with the benefit of ARM processors and modern screen technology, see the 'Netbook' concept allowed to blossom in the way that many hoped it would---the 'Rasberry Pi' of portable, productive, and CHEAP computing.
Re: Simple Explanation - MS MURDERED THE NETBOOK
Go, Eadon! Except it's worth remembering that the first netbooks came, mostly, with crap mutant versions of Linux. In that way the manufacturers got out the foot gun and gave themselves both barrels, before MS even woke up to what was happening.
Netbooks are a near perfect example of how 'the suppliers' often don't have a clue. The supply side is far more interested in serving up what it thinks will cost it least and gain it most, regardless of what the 'customer' might actually want or need.
'Netbooks' as a concept---light weight, effective basic functionality and ergonomics, long battery life, cheap to buy (no grief if lost or broken)---isn't going to go away. Maybe some enthusiastic start-ups will see an opportunity to actually serve the user market, and bypass the loser megacorps who only care about funding the shareholders and the CEO's yacht.
Got to say...
...some of us (me included on occasion), just love to whine. No one forces us to use Ubuntu, or any other distro. If we're not in charge of development and direction we're just all car and no responsibility. if we don't like the way a distro is going we can simply pack our bags for greener pastures, surely that's part of the raison d'etre of the whole FOSS scene. So, why do so many of us waste so much keyboard time moaning and bitching as though our tantrums actually matter? It is real toddler behaviour---'I'm going to hold my breath until I die if you don't do things the way I want them, and then you'll be sorry'.
No, Mark won't be sorry. Of course if he pisses off enough people and Ubuntu goes down the toilet, well then MS clearly got it wrong, but that's the point too, isn't it, the freedom to do things and make mistakes. We're not paying for any of this, except in out own time and effort, but that's the risk we take with any distro.
As far as I'm concerned I've stopped using Ubuntu, but I wish the project well, and I hope we all may benefit from stuff that feeds back into the wider community.
Re: The difference between Steve Mann's glasses and Googles version is ...
Mmm... Maybe the difference is that one is about someone doing generic practical research for something that will actually work and be useful for a whole range of things all sorts of people may want to do; while the other is interested in making money. Or, maybe that's just too simple and cynical an interpretation.
Given Microsoft's track record...
...why would any of the mobile corps, etc. want to hitch their hardware wagons to WindowsPhone? Experience, or failing that history, says there's a good chance they'll be shafted as MS sets out to call the tune. I'm not saying MS is the devil incarnate, or that WP is crap, but perhaps it's understandable that plenty of people who want to make money try to make sure that is little as possible gets creamed off their profit margins, often wafer thin at the best of times, to feed the shareholders of an OS vendor who is beyond their control and used to believing that it's in charge.
Although I've stopped using Ubuntu directly, I still have a toehold through Mint, and my daughter at uni uses Ubuntu exclusively, and gets on fine with it---despite having to bully the uni IT services into changing their Windows only (WTF!) WiFi login service to one that would accept all comers.
Anyhow, having a computer in my pocket that does it's 'smartphone' thing when out and about, but can just plug into a decent monitor, keyboard, and mouse, etc. and let me get on with real work whenever and where ever is, I think, a real step forward. And one I hope others will be quick to pick up and run with. Anything, to stop the steady slide towards computing devices becoming completely locked down and locked in appliances---basically simple money conduits from our bank accounts to the big corporates'. Which, after all, is what they really want to achieve.
Doubtless Canonical wants it's own conduit, fair enough. But we need variety and choice, as well as standards and reliability, at east cost... Yeah, okay, nirvana is always just around the corner, but if it's the nirvana created by monopoly and stagnation then 'No Thanks!'.
Re: Upgrade to a more useful, sexier, *real* operating system. Linux
Steam beta working fine here on latest Minty goodness.
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