Now is that the deep or the shallow end of the gene pool?
1446 posts • joined 10 Apr 2007
Now is that the deep or the shallow end of the gene pool?
Agreed. It's simple sales / marketing - give the customers what they want.
Unfortunately Microsoft decided that they would copy Apple and tell the customer what they want instead. Unfortunately that works better for new systems than upgrading old ones, as even Apple have found out with some of their changes.
Quick POP QUIZ: List the way(s) in which Windows 7 differs from XP, visually without having to cite the Aero Interface. Which is just XP Task Bar with a Translucent Alpha Chanel and a gimmicky 3D Task Switcher? ....
The most serious initial problem is the fucked up UI that's the login screen. Too much hidden and the bloody "switch user" button is bigger and more prominent than the "login" button itself. As a result, a huge number of users given their first experience of Windows 7 fail to login. Repeatedly. They can learn quickly but it's a recurring problem and sensible design would have prevented this. Likewise, the username is not prominent where even the XP login screen showed the username in more importance, instead the login user "picture" is shown much more important, visually masking the username below. Yes, users can setup their own login pictures but this is per user per system and while this works for a home system, it's complete fail on a company domain system.
Once the user is logged into the shell, it's a relatively simple case of showing them that the start menu (always a dumb name when linked to "shut down") and is replaced by a pizza splat icon instead much like certain versions of Office. The other part is to show them how to pin applications to the start menu and the taskbar and most users are set to go as the rest is familiar enough to Windows XP to not make much difference.
Compare this to Windows 8 where the user interface is so fucked up, I even had to google (on a different system) to work out how to unlock the screen... Hiding stuff in an interface, either through invisibility or obfuscated controls, and expecting people to find it is never a good interface design.
I forgot about running into that, but it all comes back to me now. It was a very sensible thing to implement even if it was frustrating at times.
However Microsoft got involved when they attempted to shift from single-user standalone devices to make them networkable after a fashion things went backwards. The passwords on these local systems were checked locally and 47000 words was probably too much of a dictionary for either the local storage / install media for the system to check against given Microsoft coding efficiency at the time. As a result, subsequently, if your website or service didn't allow a password that a local system that you used did, then it would appear to the end user that your website or service was defective, not the local system with poor or no security. Basically: Lowest Common Denominator wins :(
Other that marketing@, other commonly used are:
The usual <expletives>@<theirdomain.com> are often good to go as well... If you can be bothered to do the research, the name of their owners or board members is also quite adequate and you'd be surprised how many of them don't appear to have accounts on their own systems that they foist onto the public.
Unfortunately the last I knew we had no functioning nukes in orbit around mars for this eventuality. Please write to your local government representative to let them know that you do not approve of this lack of planning.
However we do have a nuclear powered laser tank already deployed. ETA... errm, about 15 months.
Worshiping the vulture? What next? Biting hands?
It's worth than utterly incompetent...
The software that we have here that requires the old, very insecure, unsupported version of Java is written by Oracle.
The company has revenue turnover of $285m a quarter, what's the profit per quarter? Taking an (air plucked) 30% profit rate that works out at $342m profit a year.
What am I missing? $3.1b seems rather a high bid for this.
While a lot of the comments around the Win8 UI revolve around the Start Menu, it's more the braindead manner in which it was implemented that was the problem.
As many people have already noted, the Start Menu in previous versions of Windows was a Modal interface - which for those that don't understand what "modal" means, it basically pops to the front and blocks access to anything else. Modal interfaces are generally modal with respect to either the application (or in tabbed browsers / applications, sometimes per tab) or the operating system (graphical shell). A modal popup within an application will force your attention to that popup window within the application when you try and use the application. A modal popup at the graphical shell level will prevent you from doing anything else in the graphical shell until you've dealt with it...
Having a full screen modal Start Menu (effectively a Start Screen) or a partial screen modal popup window as the previous versions of Windows had shouldn't make that much difference. The previous incarnation of the Start Menu had serious deficiencies... install more than a few applications and before you know it you're having to navigate scroll lists, nested menus and all kinds of usability horrors. To help with this when Microsoft transitioned away from the "Classic" start menu to whatever the hell they called it in Windows XP, it was possible to pin favourite or commonly used applications, Most Recently Used application documents linked with these and the other most recently used applications were automatically listed while still allowing the user access to the full, nasty, tree of applications if they needed it. One downside of the TIFKAM start menu is that it removes the control that the user had and introduces an (subjectively) ugly and unusable lists of icons in place of the useful things that were in place previously. My main system runs Windows 7 and some of the most application launches I work with are, for example, opening the Start Menu, and selecting a spreadsheet out of the most recently used documents listed by the Excel link that I pinned to the Start Menu. This is far quicker than opening Excel and finding the document by either opening it through the file system or performing the ghastly operation of finding the most recently used document list in Excel and eventually locating the document I wanted. I also have the option, if I had a spreadsheet that I used all the time, of pinning common spreadsheets so they don't fall out of the Most Recently Used list (it's also possible to pin a document link directly in the Start Menu, but it's not simple: http://blogs.technet.com/b/deploymentguys/archive/2009/04/08/pin-items-to-the-start-menu-or-windows-7-taskbar-via-script.aspx has the details).
The (short) point of it is that the new Start Menu removes the functions that were steadily added that made the older Start Menu actually useful. As a result the Windows 8.1 Start Menu is a huge step backwards in usability and, while it can be customised, it can't be customised enough to replace the useful functionality lost and to make the interface itself actually usable on a non-touchscreen device.
...and that's just the content of the Start Menu / Screen. There are many other very serious user interface (user experience) deficiencies in Windows 8.1
You won't be able to mine bitcoins on it. OK, technically you could, but your hash rate will be magnitudes inferior to even the current ASICs, let alone those that are due to hit operation soon (assuming that the new ASICs are not vapourware of course).
The website https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Mining_hardware_comparison has a definitive comparison of CPU vs GPU vs ASIC bitcoin hash rates. Average GPUs are 10x faster than the best CPUs, current cheaply available ASICs are 10x faster than the best GPUs and the new wave of ASICs that are promised will be 100x-1000x faster still.
While ASICs are the only way ahead (largely forget FPGAs as well as GPUs), this is currently only true for BitCoins or very similar. Other algorithmic digital virtual currencies have different requirements which don't search ASICs as well as they were designed as such from the outset.
They keep getting work because they are seen as "safe choices" due to their size and experience (admittedly at fucking everything up that they are contracted to provide). Many of these systems I could have had developed within a year by a small, quality team for a tiny fraction of the price... unfortunately unless you are a big, unwieldy organisation with the aforementioned experience (and directors in the right places), it is impossible to get these contracts.
Dear Microsoft Employee "rebootweb",
Thank you for registering on El Reg just to troll. Your input is truly appreciated.
I sincerely hope you are being adequately paid to write on this website to tell us that the utter trainwreck that is the Windows 8 User Interface works for you and your long suffering family on every possible device that they have paid you to write about. Have you considered a career in Real Estate or in telemarketing? I hear that PPI companies are always on the look out for people just like you.
Which you'll have to pay for to fix the bugs and issues in the previous version that you also paid for.
The other month I stunned some American support staff of a product that we use by pointing out to them when they were confused that most of their non-US customers were measuring thing in millimetres, that the US is one of the three remaining countries on the planet that still uses Imperial measurements or, perhaps more accurately, does not use the metric system.
On an engineering front my previous dealings with a different US supplier was that they didn't seem to understand the RoHS rules (specifically lead in electronics) and how they were generally implemented in a similar way worldwide. Except for the US. As a result they had one product for the US and another product for everybody else on the planet, carefully glazing over when it was pointed out that producing an international compliant product would also solve their problems with the state of California that had similar requirements for their products and give them a single product to support. Their solution to Imperial nuts and bolts was also to send, at extortionate costs, imperial spanners...
* Yes, I know some countries use certain Imperial measurements on occasions, but the official designation is metric measures. I'll have a pint please... :)
I'd heard that the number of drink drivers caught year on year has been getting lower in the UK recently. Which is positive. However this could also mean that the police are no longer out there trying to catch them...
However the number of people caught the morning after has increased. Again, is this because police are now concentrating on this or because more people are actually driving the following day?
That's the most upsetting thing about it all... 1680x1050 8 years ago compared to what we have now.
I know that many of today's displays are more power efficient and have better colour range, viewing angles and overall laptops are cheaper now, but even with this it's just pathetic that we've gone backwards so far given how things should improve in time. That's the most upsetting point when combined with the modern user interfaces being space inefficient.
Has anybody at these damn laptop manufacturers tried (or suffered) with Office 2010 (the current standard that the majority of businesses seem to be using) on an x768 screen? It's all but unusable due to the waste of space interface elements. It feels like you spend more timing moving crud out of the way and scrolling to see the content than actually reading the damn content that you're using it for. Is x768 in use everywhere because they can pretend that it's a "HD" resolution? Before the switch to widescreen aspect displays the standard display resolutions were going up it was easy to find over 1000 pixels vertical on even the cheaper laptops.
x768 desktop monitors disappeared into obsolescence years ago which allowed Microsoft to expand the UI elements to "take advantage" of the increase in screen real estate, but with no recourse to a more efficient use of this space (Office 2013's metro incarnation is not helpful) and with laptop builders shifting bog standard low resolution screens on everything it's an ongoing usability problem. As pointed out by JeeBee above, even 1600x900 is significantly better.
Not a common or easy to find book (may even be out of print now), but there's a great book you need to read in dead-tree format n public: "how to make love to a black man".
Apparently it's a good book, from the technical / creative point of view, and absolutely nothing to do with what the title may suggest.
"Now, Watson, what is the question?"
What is seven times eight?
Yellow Pages - they were in a perfect position to be very strong, possibly dominant, in business search on the early Internet but were absolutely clueless and seemed to have little desire to do anything other than fleece existing dead-tree customers as much as possible.
It also felt like every time they did anything it was too intentionally hobbled and too late and generally worse than what they had before and always worse than anything else available. The old BBS / telnet version was a lot better than yp.com, which was better than yell.com and however many countless iterations those went through...
Given how appalling yahoo periodically make their mail interface, messing up on the encryption strategy is no surprise at all. It feels like every revision of yahoo mail has been explicitly designed to push previously happy users away to alternative platforms. I try to be forward thinking and give things a good chance before rejecting them, but with yahoo mail I just can't do it. And then yahoo intentionally screw up the "legacy" mail to make it worse than the previous mail so you're stuck with a deficient mail interface that superficially looks like the older one or a new one that's just deficient in pretty much every usability way they could think.
The Galaxy S2 was a great phone and is still available and is still good enough for the majority of users. The Galaxy S3 is likewise still a great phone and easily good enough for the majority of users. The Galaxy S4 is also a great phone, but not especially different to the Galaxy S3 for the majority of users.
In the developed markets, we've largely hit smart-phone saturation and the smart phone manufacturers should now be subtly changing tactics so rather than producing newer, bigger phones with more pointless features they should be arranging other streams of income and refining their devices to give better value. This isn't affecting just Samsung, the same is true for Apple. And to aptly demonstrate the problem affecting the flagship phones, Motorola (Google), produced the Moto G which is almost as good as the top of range devices of last year but at a bargain price.
Nothing to stop them coming up with some "entirely new", but smart-phones as they are have hit a plateau. Although I'd prefer the next gen of battery technology to come sooner rather than later...
pulse, pulse, pulse, pulse, pulse, pulse, pulse, pulse.
Windows CE definitely (amazingly MS haven't killed this off yet), XP embedded (XPe) maybe, or perhaps more likely Windows 95/98 with the 98Lite approach, but full fat windows? No way as it's just too bloated and stupidly resource hungry.
Similar to my take on the Facebook app - it's on my tablet (no SMS or mobile number to harvest) but on my phone I stick to using the Facebook website... in DESKTOP mode of course.
IMHO El Reg should remove this, effectively, malware advert from their website.
You have it the wrong way round.
As DaLo has noted above, (R) is the Registered Trade Mark. "TM" represents just Trade Mark, or for those that know anything about the subject, is often more accurately interpreted as "Totally Meaningless".
Anybody can append "TM" to a word or identifier, applying for and being granted a Registered Trade Mark costs a minimum of £170 and goes through a set process prior to acceptance. The IPO (Intellectual Property Office) has the details on their website.
I think in a VM (VMWare anyway) you're also able to set the serial number of the hard drive. This does get a little confusing because the serial number is often confused with the volume number. The volume ID is always available as it's added by Windows, the hard drive serial number is a different matter as it's an optional part of the specification.
"But XP compatibility mode is just an XP VM tied to a Win7 machine and is subject to exactly the same end of support dates as 'normal' XP..."
You may be confusing things... when you right click and run an application you can run it in "XP Compatibility Mode". In this execution environment security settings are tweaked and the application can get away with doing dumb things that while it shouldn't do, XP allowed anyway. e.g. admin level access to everything with no UAC prompts, mixing program files and data files, and so on.
"XP Mode" is the XP Virtual Machine that is available for users of Windows 7 Professional (and Enterprise).
I see where you are coming from and, while it feels glacial, Google is making more effort now for managed estates of devices. Haven't tried it, haven't had an opportunity to but it's at least heading in the right direction.
There are web browser remote desktop clients available, hell even MS provide one but I haven't looked at it for a long time and can't remember if it works using standards or requires the locked-in security hole that is ActiveX. The Chrome Store has apps available as well.
While that's true, the much simpler answer is that some dickhead at the bank either has a compromised system or (not so) carefully found a way to export a list of email addresses that subsequently got added to spam sender's systems.
However it's telling that it's more targetted than the usual penis enlargement or penny stock spam.
So they need to run, maintain, support and license Windows for 30% of their user base. That's not irrelevant. That shows why Linux is still irrelevant on the desktop.
No, that shows exactly why suffering with vendor lock in is a bad thing - they have left over (3rd party) proprietary software that only works on Windows. In an organisation of this size there will always be some cruddy software usually supporting specific closed hardware that only runs on Windows. Often this is because the supplier has no clue about anything other than Windows development or has no interest in re-developing for other environments for low volume customers as it just doesn't make financial sense for them (the supplier of these proprietary systems) and from experience it usually doesn't seem to make financial sense for the supplier to ever update their software or to make it usable either... The more that open communication standards and similar are used the less this is a problem as there are more alternatives.
No - it has cost them over €30 million MORE than to upgrade their existing systems. The claimed 'savings' have been widely debunked.
Wrong. It's your pay-master's lies that have been widely debunked. By Munich themselves , not by third party interested parties or spreaders of FUD. While it can be argued that Munich will put whatever spin they want to on these things, the reality is that as a public organisation they operate with a level of accountability and if they did lie or misrepresent the truth it would come out very quickly and they'd be held accountable for it.
To suggest that they can build a new OS, run a migration project for TEN YEARS! - and support 2 environments instead of one across 30% of their users and then save money is clearly not credible.
Wrong. Again. When you are forced to support Windows you usually have about seven different versions of Windows and Office to support, all incompatible with each other in all so many delightful ways requiring specific customisations and management of each independently. In the end you typically wind up with seven different configurations and when you make a change to one you then have to reflect it manually in each of the others as appropriate... and that's just the joys of centralised management aka group policy. This is before you start to take into account the various incompatible and always fundamentally broken or deficient security structures that are in place that need to be realised between sharepoint, exchange/outlook, file shares (different versions of course), device (e.g. printer) access let alone network access.
1... 2... 3... just waiting on the popcorn and the MS fanbois with their alternative "proof" of ROI. :)
But seriously, it shows that it can be done and efforts to not being subject to vendor lock-in (at any arbitrary level) are a good thing.
Virtual Currencies are quite intriguing.
They're not backed up by physical resources, but given our banks and governments are just creating more traditional money out of thin air in spreadsheets through "quantitive easing" and other bullshit terms to mask the reality or just by creating a circle of unfeasible promise-based-lending that amusingly often included the same organisation multiple times... why not?
IMHO a unit of currency is nothing more a token of value. If enough people agree that the token has some value, whether to be exchanged for goods or services then it does genuinely have value (one step removed from bartering). The token has to be harder to reproduce than to generate otherwise the less-savoury types will just make more of their own but that's it really.. And yet in modern society, probably in excess 99.9999% of the money is unseen and virtual, nothing more than a line in a database somewhere and it's been heading this way for years. e.g. You work and your salary goes into your bank account, money leaves your bank account to pay off a mortgage... you never see the money, no actual monetary tokens ever get exchanged, it's just lines in a database and it's all trust based. Does anybody know exactly how much money there is meant to be compared to exactly how money there is reported to exist? The Bank of England (or similar licenced organisations) ought to know the first answer exactly, but as to the second?
That sounds like a party trick alright.
Google gathering and storing information like that is both very useful and a privacy problem - but it's not really feasible to do it any other way.
Has anybody tried a similar test with Siri?
BeiDou support is definitely important for the PRC. Firstly, the PRC launched these satellites and it's important to demonstrate that they are in use, and likely important for use other than military purposes. The fact that this satellite network is not reliant on the goodwill of the US government is also a very important point and aside from the obvious military angle it is also a statement of place as a world power that the PRC is not reliant on external services to operate.
He's just lucky he's not wearing the wrong kind of gloves, let alone holding it wrong.
Yep, it's that time of year when you can either freeze your fingers and answer your phone or leave the bugger. (yes, I know there are alternative ways of answering a phone).
It looks like a fairly standard SD card, just embedded in the device. While this seems odd, it might make a lot of sense and may be cheaper than embedding flash chips directly. It'll certainly be considerably easier for Motorola to provide different storage capacities without having to potentially go through expensive redesign and certification processes - just swap the "removable" storage and that's it.
In some ways I agree with non-removable batteries:
* It greatly reduces failure with the interface between a movable (eg re-movable) device. It's the moving parts that tend to fail and a re-movable interface counts on this point.
* The design can be optimised for a more awkward shape or profile battery that doesn't require to be removed. The battery container can be of a different material to a removable battery thereby saving on weight and cost.
* No removable batteries largely prevents the usage of 3rd party batteries of unknown safety and quality. This greatly affects the reputation of a device.
* Having a fixed battery allows all of the battery control (charging) circuitry to be embedded in one place rather than spread between the battery and the separate power circuitry. This is another cost saver.
On the other hand, while I quite like having the option of a removable battery (my current phone has one), I'd rather a more efficient overall system (chipset, os, applications) that doesn't murder a battery than have to safely carry a replacement battery around somehow. The reality is that these devices will be EoL within a few years and these batteries, if they're good enough quality and the charging circuitry is good enough, will easily last that long.
No wonder Samsung's executives have all been summoned for a global discussion... with phones like this that for many users (e.g. the majority of Joe Public) do just what they need with the performance of the Galaxy S3 at a very very good price.
The Galaxy S3 has more features, and from one point of view I like Samsung's approach of throwing features until they see what sticks in the real world, and possibly for willy-waving tech-heads as well, producing a simple, clean but capable device like this should concern them. A lot. Apple should be concerned as well because this device does everything and more of the iPhone 4, just a lot cheaper.
It'll be very interesting to see one of the reputable teardown sites take on this device and their projected BoM.
All those shortcuts like Alt+F4 no longer work
While I'm no fan of the Win8 shell (user interface) as it sucks balls on almost every level unless used on a touchscreen tablet, I have not noticed the lack of the old keyboard shortcuts as they work for me. I haven't yet wasted time on Microsoft's Office Metro applications, so maybe Microsoft decided to hack their applications in their usual non-standard manner (*) and removed the standard shortcuts, but for everything else I tried they worked ok.
Win8.1 is a step in the right direction compared to Win8 but only because it's possible to mask some of the Metro ghastliness and user interface (UI/UX) failures.
* It's always amazed me at Microsoft's stupidity in this regard - the Operating System should provide the look and feel of standard windowing elements however with Microsoft Office, they re-implement the latest look and feel of the latest Windows version in the application instead. While this means that Office 2007 looks near enough the same when running on Windows 7 as Windows XP, it defeats the entire rationale behind the operating system (technically, the shell, but MS have merged them on their mainstream OSes so it makes little difference). But given the awful bodge job hack-from-hell-that-draws-everything-twice that the Windows XP theme layer was on top of the standard windowing elements, I suppose it should be no surprise.
In many ways Intel have only themselves to blame. The x86 instruction set is horrible to use, overall quite inefficient and has a large overhead compared to instruction sets that were designed rather more recently or have retained a cleaner implementation. IMHO it's the backwards compatibility of the x86 instruction set that while being an amazing strength for desktop computing has prohibited the use in leaner and more efficient devices.
I'm still sadistic enough to occasionally step through code at the instruction set level...
"So you want to keep data which is local, only ever going to be local, only needed locally, never accessed remotely, not WANTED to be made available outside our building, which can only WEAKEN our security by being off site, hosted offsite."
I'm considering printing this off and taking it with me whenever I meet Yet Another Cloud Pusher.
When all you can do is negatively attack your competitors rather than promote how good your own products and services are, you've already lost.
Both the market and the plot.
I read it more that you need a Microsoft account (e.g. app store account) in order to either download the apps, updates to the apps or to store the settings - which is much more explainable and even moderately sensible, compared to needing an MS account to access these services.
It's down to overall ratios of trace elements compared to known (current) ratios on the various planets.
It's never 100% conclusive because some other solar body could just happen to have a make up, or region, that is similar enough to Mars that a bit of it knocked off that happens to land on Earth could match.
The formation and type of rock can help determine if it came from a planet or not (formation under gravity is very different to under low or none) and trapped atmospheric gasses are also indicative of where a rock initially formed. Where there are trapped atmospheric gasses the list of sources is quite short (few planets / planetoids have ever had or have an atmosphere) and they are quite different from each other.
This beast sounds much more like a (server software) development laptop or a heavy duty demonstrator than anything any more "normal" user would ever think appropriate.
As far as I understand it, the Japanese (TV) manufacturers steadily out-sourced production of their TV components to cheaper labour markets in order to keep prices down with local (Japanese) labour rates souring. This improved the manufacturing capabilities of the foreign manufacturers as they needed to maintain the quality that the Japanese brands depended on at the time. Steadily more partnerships and cross manufacturing deals were formed and the foreign manufacturers were driven to put research into better manufacturing methods and through this quite rapidly accumulated an important share of the knowledge to the point that they started investing in the next generation technologies directly rather than as "just" a third party manufacturer.
Doesn't take a genius to see what happens next...
Most growth and effort appears to be in the smartphone / tablet market. In general, people just don't want to carry around yet another damn device, just to do what an existing device can largely do. Hence the plummeting sales of compact camera, audio players and satellite navigation devices. I'm not saying that a discrete product specialised for a task won't be better than a more general device that can also do it, just that for many people the combined version is good enough these days.