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* Posts by Nick Ryan

1285 posts • joined 10 Apr 2007

HP exec: 'CYOD' will TEAR APART the IT dept as we know it

Nick Ryan
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In all this time of the BYOD pushers releasing press notices and other such "advertising" as they can get away with... I've still yet to fully understand just who BYOD will actually benefit other than the pushers of BYOD management systems.

The majority of staff use a computer as a tool to do a job. If it works, that's its requirements taken care of. Power users, of various types, have always required more specialised systems and a good corporate IT department will cater for these as well and in practice, in a given organisation there won't be more than a few different distinct power user requirements, although there may always be the odd specific case.

"Bring your own mobile device"... now that does have value as an employee would then not have to carry multiple devices around. There is also the cynical point of view that an employee is more likely to take care of their own mobile device than a company one.

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Rumour: Next Apple iThing to feature 65-inch screen. Four-limb multitouch, anyone?

Nick Ryan
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I'd highly doubt that an iTV (hmm, possibly name issue there) Apple TV would be touch based. It's just not a remotely sensible way to interact with a large screen unless you are either (a) a small child who watches TV from 2" away or (b) Microsoft and insist on using a touch interface where it's not useful.

Instead I'd expect to be able to use an iPad, or possibly an iPhone to control the device. Possibly to play content back on one or more of these devices as well. Even just supporting audio would be a dream in many houses where viewers can listen to the tv at their own volume without disturbing anybody else.

Apple would doubtless be tempted to put in proprietary speaker links, to fair quality, but somewhat overpriced speakers.

A more visionary Apple would turn the device into an entertainment hub, pretty much iTunes on a TV with wireless link to local devices. Such an iTunes in essence ought to require little more than a reasonable processor, local (cache) storage and a display and this kind of spec is getting there with many "smart" TVs and set top boxes.

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Tesla in 'Ethernet port carries data' SCANDAL

Nick Ryan
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Re: Thank god I have an old car

Electric cars are even simpler than internal combustion - some electronics to charge the battery and run the motor. Done. Dump all the other crap and save weight and space. I can't really see why it needs an internal network running over ethernet other than it being some geeks wet dream.

A hell of an over-simplification there. In a conventional car there are many systems that communicate and are managed through the ECU - both monitoring and control systems or just a convenient way to integrate everything (often the monitoring is separate to the control systems). In the majority of vehicles these operate over a variety of the CAN Bus, as it's a simple bus and very resilient to the hostile environment of a motor vehicle. However an electric vehicle will be a considerably less hostile environment than a combustion engine system therefore there is scope for different systems. For example there is also a variety of the CAN protocol that can run over IP although this scheme is generally more used in an industrial environment than motor.

So why shouldn't there be an internal network running ethernet / IP? It's a good opportunity to take advantage of standard interfaces between components which is always a good thing compared to proprietary connectors and interfaces. A modern electric vehicle consists of a lot more than just a charger, battery and motor - there's all the battery management, battery level management and notification (e.g. "you have 12 miles remaining - charge soon"), recharge braking, ABS, tyre and other pressure monitors, audio system, navigation system, suspension management, air conditioning, windows and mirrors to control, seat positioning, lighting, dash board notifications and so on.

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Microsoft in OPEN-SOURCE .Net love-in with new foundation

Nick Ryan
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Re: .NET - wasted opportunity

I thought at the time it was a clever move, as it meant MS could still punt a .NET version of Office to other OS users - Mac and Linux being key.

Why did it never pan out that way ?

  • The MS Office code uses a lot specific, private calls to the Operating System and is not restricted to the published APIs.
  • For marketing reasons Microsoft chose to re-implement / merge the Windows visual interface control code in the application itself rather than pass rendering of user interface elements to the Operating System. This does present a consistent interface but is against the point of a windowing environment such as the Windows shell.
  • MS Office uses a lot of Windows specific features and functions. Such as the registry, ActiveX, and local and domain security functionality. These would have to be abstracted properly within the code base, skipped or re-implemented somehow in a different Operating System.
  • .NET is .dll hell taken to extreme levels. MS would have to specifically recreate this level of pain for other Operating Systems.

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French firms: You want us to compile DATABASES... of our SECRET information?

Nick Ryan
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Re: What's the problem?

Precisely my thoughts. Most people see the word "database" and makes the assumption that this implies a networked or online data repository on a computer system. A set of documents in a filing cabinet is a database and this is made quite clear in the (EU) Data Protection Act.

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Lego is the TOOL OF SATAN, thunders Polish priest

Nick Ryan
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Re: I think this is important

While I agree that there is now more obvious gender targetting of lego, to a large part this always the case. The "city" lego was usually shown pictures with girls and boys. The "space" lego was usually shown with pictures of boys. The rather older "house" lego (where you built rooms and had articulated characters) was usually shown with girls.

However dump all the pieces in a box and they become the building blocks that a much wider variety of things can be built of - but that's the enduring beauty of lego, what you can do with it. The more specific the piece then usually the less options for re-use there are but even this encourages creativity - want a satellite dish for the side of a house but don't have one, use a water character's "tray" instead.. want a downlighter for a light but don't have one, use a satellite dish... and so on.

The interesting thing about the blue = boy, pink = girl colour gender assignment is that this is a relatively recent assignment; It used to be the other way around. It's also interesting to note that it wasn't that long ago that up until a reasonable age boys and girls were dressed near identically.

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Nick Ryan
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Re: Obviously.

Exactly my thoughts on this. Statistics, lies and damn statistics.

I remember wishing that they had other expressions other than "gormless grin" or that there was a difference between male and female faces. The enterprising among us got hold of marker pens and draw faces on (aka mauled with a marker) the reverse of the head to give us some variety.

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Is this photo PROOF a Windows 7 Start Menu is coming back?

Nick Ryan
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Re: Still hate the tiles and the window decorations

I still really wish that Microsoft had gone the OpenGL route rather than the (frequent) abomination that is DirectX. It's not that DirectX is inheritently bad (it's steadily improved a lot since the earlier versions), it's just that working with it compared to OpenGL there is a lot of boilerplate, inefficiencies and lock-ins and more than a few cases where a little more transparency would be nice as it would help figuring out what is actually going on, or just going wrong :). OpenGL has it's faults as well and comparing OpenGL (graphics) to DirectX (graphics, video, audio, input and more) isn't exactly a fair or straight comparison but a more standard approach would have benefitted everybody including Microsoft and the implementations of OpenGL would have improved as well. Instead we generally have to use a further level of abstraction to try to develop in a more cross platform manner and this introduces a whole host of new problems.

Embedding good support for OpenGL within the windows UI would be a dream for many standard (i.e. not game) application developers compared to the pain of all the work arounds to produce good quality, efficient, embedded imagery otherwise.

This would still leave windows as a platform competing against others, but it could then compete more fairly and if Microsoft worked hard to produce the best experience and the best (non-lockin) services to support it all they'd be onto a really good thing. Instead games and gamers are steadily moving to other platforms.

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How Microsoft can keep Win XP alive – and WHY: A real-world example

Nick Ryan
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Re: Production Line

You are very correct about building things more appropriately in the first place. However the commercial computer industry is very young, it has changed massively in its time due to huge advances in technology and along the way common sense has often given way to convenience or greed. In this case I mean greed through trying to get a product out as quick as possible, ignoring the future or best practices. This applies equally to the designers of industrial machinery utilising the advantages that computers could give them.

This is where defined standards are critical to everything. We wouldn't have the Internet we have today without defined standards which are, relatively, vendor neutral. Individual vendors will always want to push their take on something which shouldn't really be seen as a wholly bad thing, as long as the end result is sensible. The more open these standards are the better as it allows the implementation of a solution by multiple, competing vendors and interoperability between systems. Again, we wouldn't have the World Wide Web without this - instead we'd be mired in the locked in blight that was AOL, Compuserve and similar.

Standards benefit many levels, for example Virgin Media uses cable modems that adhere to the DOCSIS standard. This allows VM to select the "best" or "most appropriate" solution for them which need not be a single supplier or manufacturer. The residential power plugs we take for granted all use a defined standard, with defined tolerances and performance - consider the nightmare this would be without this basic standard - an extended form of travel plug nightmare. For reference, in the early days of computers and PCs, many used proprietary connectors for the other end of the power cable rather than the IEC form that is now uniform internationally.

Ideally the designers of industrial machinery mentioned here should have used defined communication standards and definitely not use closed, proprietary protocols such as NetBEUI / NetBIOS and similar. Unfortunately these short-sighted decisions are often made in the pursuit of new technology and fast (i.e. cheap) development time. At the time these devices were designed, more open protocols such as CAN (CAN-Open), CAN/TCP or the many other protocols may have not been available or the devices that were available just did not have the right functionality.

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El Reg's Deep Outback XP upgrade almost foiled by KILLER ARACHNIDS

Nick Ryan
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Ummmm... thanks for that, but it's annoyingly incomplete: "At least some of the sheep are OK". How do we identify which sheep are OK and which aren't? This could be very, very important for survival at some point.

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Nick Ryan
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Re: Redbacks

untidy networked strands

Checks under desk... uh-oh... checks cabinet... oh dear.

It appears we may have a serious infestation here. Haven't spotted the spiders themselves yet though...

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That's it, we're all really OLD: Google's Gmail is 10 ALREADY

Nick Ryan
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Re: You won't miss it till it's gone.

I agree, Lotus Notes had an appalling user interface even when new and it never improved. It did, however, have a lot of very useful features that many users missed in the obligatory move to Microsoft Outlook and Exchange. Microsoft haven't done much with Outlook except re-skin the main interface every few years (the same old back end dialogs are in place in places even in the latest "metro" version, the same old bugs and useless HTML rending are there as well), made it slower and even more resource hungry and bloated it with lock-in features that most users never notice or use.

On the other hand, has email functionality reached the limit of what is sensible? At which point refinements in email client user interfaces are just that.

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BT Tower to be replaced by 3D printed BT Tower

Nick Ryan
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Re: Crowd source it

You haven't been thinking about the commercial aspect of it fully: this pound shop could sell these mini-towers. A complete win all round for capitalism.

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Nick Ryan
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Re: 10 Downing Street

I know, this is one is so outrageous that it's obvious... it's when there is a degree of plausability to it that it becomes more difficult.

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Can you tell a man's intelligence simply by looking at him? Yes

Nick Ryan
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Also, don't forget the article a few weeks ago that mathematics is sexy.

...and that it's the 1st of April :)

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Amazon is decompiling our apps in security gaffe hunt, says dev

Nick Ryan
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Re: "strings" as decompiler?

Sounds like this is the kind of developer who has absolutely no clue whatsoever how anything actually works by way of memory, code or anything else much... However he did fess up to it and (despite the headline here) doesn't seem to be attacking AWS. You don't always have to learn from your own mistakes.

In some ways in a modern environment it could be argued that a developer shouldn't need to know everything that's going on behind the scenes, however good developers should be aware of what's going on.

Searching a delivered package is a world away from decompiling an app. In any case, just how does this developer think the likes of Google and Amazon check that apps are not doing anything untoward? Or in this case, just plain dumb.

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Raised £350bn in crowdsourced funding? Tell me about it (not)

Nick Ryan
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Re: One thing I want to know...

That'll be the journalisming monkeys then... I know, I know, with a poor pun and obscure reference like that I'll get me coat...

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Nick Ryan
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Re: Daily FAIL

*Insert item* causes cancer and reduces house prices.

FTFY.

*Insert item* causes cancer, reduces house prices and creates an in influx of criminal child molesting immigrants.

FTFY (v2)

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Nick Ryan
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Re: FruitExpert Launches Free* Online course in lemon see-sawing!

- Yougurt Weaving

I nearly applied for this course but then you made a classic marketing mistake - you outsourced your spell checking... possibly to Nigerians, which reminds me - a lost relative of mine seems to have passed away but there are difficulties in releasing his money...

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Nick Ryan
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Re: I'm sure you were railing against something

I think the rather pleasing lady was there to demonstrate that some people do have bends... and even use them. She is not a nobend.

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Say WHAT? ATVOD claims 44k Brit primary school kids look at smut online each month

Nick Ryan
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Re: Fee! Fi! Foe! Fums!

I think we need a Register Standard Unit for this?

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Nick Ryan
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Re: 1 in 16 boys? seams low

At one point long ago I was a teenage boy and, before the Internet, we had these things called "magazines". Tatty, torn and old they may have been, but every boy had access to them somehow - either through raiding sibling's or even parent's collections or friends who had.

Most of us survived to be relatively normal despite this level of smut in the formative years of our youth.

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Nick Ryan
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Re: And yet....

..countries such as France and Holland that have easier access to "smut" and have far more relaxed attitudes to sex in general have lower teenage pregnancies.

Go figure...

Yes, but pandering to parents that don't parent and to pretend that sex and nudity do not have a place in a modern, upstanding society is a wonderful way to appeal to idiots. Or "voters" as the politicians like to refer to them.

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Windows 8 BREAKS ITSELF after system restores

Nick Ryan
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If you think the System Restore is bad, wait until you get a handle on the ball-ache mess that is "winsxs". It has to be on your system drive, will happily chew through gigabytes of valuable SSD space and there is very little sensible that can be done about it. In general it tends to always grow in size and never reduces.

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Nick Ryan
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Re: Stay with Win7

I'm with you on the usability - it's hopeless on anything other than a (handheld) touchscreen device and even then not great due to the frequent reverts into desktop mode which just doesn't quite work on a handheld device...

However when it comes to reliability, I've always found it to be pretty reliable, especially since 8.1 which removed some annoying problems with settings being occasionally forgotten.

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Revealed: What the US taxman really thinks of crypto-cash Bitcoin

Nick Ryan
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Re: @Nick Ryan - @ bigtimehustler Taxing Income is Immoral and counter productive.

True. VAT is not on food yet, but it is creeping that way.

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Nick Ryan
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Re: @ bigtimehustler Taxing Income is Immoral and counter productive.

@ Graham Marsden

When you describe it like that, consumption taxes really do look bad. I'd never thought of it like that.

On the other hand, should the goods and services that a company produces not be taxable? This is what it would require to remove consumption taxes and in order to keep the same "tax income" for a government, income would have to be taxed at an extremely high rate.

Of course, we get taxed on our income, taxed when we spend, pay additional taxes for services, taxed when we save and finally taxed when we die.

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The plot to kill Google cloud: We'll rename Windows Azure to MICROSOFT Azure

Nick Ryan
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Re: Hey Satya, free tip..

True. My opinion is that they'd do much better sticking with just "Azure".

Not that sense and marketing go hand in hand with Microsoft - they had "hotmail" as a strong brand, so fucked around with the name repeatedly until now nobody is entirely sure what Microsoft call it, just that it's "not as good as it used to be" (probably through confusion rather than anything else).

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Nick Ryan
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Re: Attempting to give a damn...

Guru Meditation (error)?

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The Reg's desert XP-ocalypse aversion plan revealed

Nick Ryan
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AudioGrabber - it might be old, but it's stable and does just what is needed to rip CDs.

AgentRansack - a great way to search for, or in, files without a resource hungry indexing service. One of the few tools other than 7zip and (a restricted) Notepad++ that I routinely deploy on servers.

Picasa - works well on low powered systems and does a good job of all the basic photo manipulations you might need. You don't need to connect it online.

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It's 2014 and you can pwn a PC by opening a .RTF in Word, Outlook

Nick Ryan
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RTF allows embedding of images and Microsoft regularly get their image parsers broken allowing embedded code execution. Most likely it is this rather than the parsing of text as executable code needs to be stored and a binary (ish) image blob is ideal for this.

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Nick Ryan
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RTF is a Microsoft format created by Microsoft, for Microsoft. I believe it was introduced at some point between the Mac and DOS versions to allow them to actually exchange files as the .doc format was (surprise surprise) a bastardised binary stream mess that was changed as regularly as possible and in insane ways to ensure that competing packages couldn't use .doc files properly (and when they make a mess of them, they get the blame).

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IBM PCjr STRIPPED BARE: We tear down the machine Big Blue would rather you forgot

Nick Ryan
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Re: Floppy drives

The 3.5" drives were mostly either 720K or 1.44M. The Mac version used variable-speed rotation to squeeze 800K on an otherwise 720K disk, which made the older disks incompatible with newer drives. We ran into that when we got our first iMac--the 800K floppies for Civilization wouldn't work with any USB drives.

IIRC technically the 3'5" disks were either 1M or 2M, however the necessary formatting and index structures reduced this down somewhat. PCs were the worst for this, getting only 720k from a disk. Macs were a pain with the drives that had variable spin speeds depending on where over the surface the head was - while sounding odd this did make some sense regarding controlling the amount of data in each sector. The Amiga was pioneering in that it could interface with pretty much anything due to a commendable and open DOS (Disk Operating System) that from the start allowed different file systems, or even paramaterised file systems, to be added as long as they complied with the defined API. I vaguely remember hearing about 960K formatted disks however these had to be good quality disks or had even less reliability than normal disks. Atari STs used a largely standard 1M PC disk format.

For an exercise in enterprising programming though, the floppy drive unit for the Commodore 64 features the same processor as the Commodore 64 itself and it could be programmed to execute remote code.

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TEN THINGS Google believes you believe about Glassholes and wishes you didn't

Nick Ryan
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Re: Myth 6

Cheers for the heads up on one of the alternatives - somehow never come across these before.

While the BT-100 do have an element of cool about them... the BT-200 definitely don't. Google's Glass easily has the BT-200 beaten on looks - the lack of cable and monstrous arms helps a bit.

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Move over Microsoft: RealNetworks has a GOOGLE problem

Nick Ryan
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Re: Wow, RealPlayer.

Too true. RealPlayer has been irrelevant for a long time now.

To to add insult to injury, RealPlayer itself when embedded in IE causes all manner of problems that are strangely all solved by uninstalling RealPlayer. :) Other than the lack of crashing, does the end user notice the lack of RealPlayer? No.

When diagnosing this problem it was probably the first time that I had launched the RealPlayer application for a very long time - probably about 10 years. It doesn't seem to have improved much.

It must be hard for a business that was the size of Real to find themselves irrelevant with no real direction to head into.

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Microsoft's SQL Server 2014 early code: First look

Nick Ryan
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Re: @Nick Ryan

> Maybe even reducing some of the annoying as hell language restrictions in T-SQL?

could you clarify? am curious.

It's the inconsistencies that are annoying... such as having to explicitly define parameter vars before being able to pass values to a function rather than performing inline calculations in the call itself. In T-SQL There's a whole host of missing of annoyingly limited string manipulating functions requiring slow workarounds (string manipulation in T-SQL defines a new kind of epic slow more accurately measured on a glacial cycle), even down to there's LTRIM() and RTRIM(), but no TRIM() and my "favourite" is the 4k char limit on PRINT (yes, dumping 100k chars out of the terminal might be stupid, but let me do it if I need to please).

When you've developed in as many languages as I have, it's these kind of stupid things in any one of them really annoy!

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Nick Ryan
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I've been wondering what was coming up next in MS-SQL land... but really couldn't summon the self-loathing to look it up.

So... in-memory databases where you can't use some very common SQL statements / operators. Thanks for that Microsoft... play catch up with other RDMSs and just fail to implement anything useful, that just sounds rather too typical.

More stuff for MS-Cloud... not exactly a surprise. Easy backup or sync to MS-Cloud would be useful, except for the pending legal and ethical minefield of exporting data outside of the EU. Would be nice if MS could make features such as these vendor neutral, but we know that will never happen as all they exist for these days is to push everybody onto MS subscription services.

So MS, instead how about actually fully supporting SQL standards, such as those from 1999? Maybe even reducing some of the annoying as hell language restrictions in T-SQL? Maybe even adjusting the management interface so it is easy to find useful information rather than trawling through three or four otherwise unrelated windows full of unsorted and otherwise impossible to filter options? Improving the performance through optimising the software would be nice too: new hardware <> optimisation.

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It's not just incredibly hard, it's really quite pretty: Dark Souls II

Nick Ryan
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Re: I'm a crap gamer and sore loser..

I tried it for a bit and was more likely to fling the gamepad controller through the screen rather than anything else. Is it available on PC and has the irritating as hell control method been fixed? (Why review anything and not say what platform's it's available on or the RRP?) While you can get used to it after a while, the gamepad controller always felt entirely deficient.

While it's undoubtedly very pretty, I found in general that it felt very linear and forced. Yes, it may look like a forest but it's no different to a cave just with different wall textures, although if there's a chance of dying stupidly you won't often find invisible barriers to bounce against. Much of the time there didn't feel that there was any more depth than many much older adventure games, just a graphical skin on top of it all. A good looking graphical skin though that didn't detract from the game with ridiculous particle and glow effects.

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App.net 'not just a way for nerds to talk to each other', boss tells nerds

Nick Ryan
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Re: In before

Don't worry - I will use it if paid in naked women and gold products.

Suddenly I feel very cheap.

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Behold, the TITCHY T-REX that prowled the warm Arctic of long ago

Nick Ryan
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Re: Lets clone it.

Yes, but how noisy is the critter? It must somehow live in a quiet cul-de-sac...

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Nick Ryan
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Re: Scientists & Marketing

It's Biomedical then Engineering(*) and then "others". Between Biomedical and Engineering the rest of the funding is little more than a rounding error.

* Engineering includes topics such as carbon nanotubes and graphene.

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That NSA denial in full: As of right now, we're not pretending to be Facebook or Twitter

Nick Ryan
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Re: lol

Not sure about the large red nose. How about a nose that, for some utterly inexplicable reason, appears to regularly get longer?

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FANBOIS' EYES ONLY: United Airlines offers FREE MOVIES on iOS kit

Nick Ryan
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Re: Android

Anyway, United is a terrible airline. Got an "upgrade" last year and honestly can't say what the difference was between that and cattle class.

The difference is that you paid more for it? Erm, nope - can't honestly say I saw a difference either. Although at one point a dirty curtain is pulled to separate you from those that didn't pay for it. If you could tell the difference...

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Nick Ryan
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Re: Android #fail

Didn't it say that they had to download and use the UA app for this? If so, what has this got to do with the OS features and Android having to have an App?

There are plenty of cross platform streaming libraries out there for precisely this kind of purpose and to ensure that device OS coverage is as wide as possible.

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SATANIC 'HELL DIAMOND' tells of sunless subterranean sea

Nick Ryan
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Re: Flour

That was a close call there. For one moment I thought you were about to mention... no wait... dammit, I nearly did it myself.

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BuzzGasm: 9 Incredible Things You Never Knew About PLIERS!

Nick Ryan
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Re: Never 6ft away from pliers

Being within 6ft of pliers is all very well. It's being able to reach the bastards after you're dropped them, for the second time, down a chute which you have to disassemble to retrieve them. Usually you'll require pliers to disassemble this chute...

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UK's CASH POINTS to MISS Windows XP withdrawal date

Nick Ryan
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As big spending customers they have too much leverage for M.S. to piss them off.

It's more fundamental than that. The banks have Microsoft's money...

Nice bank balance you have there, it would be a shame if anything were to happen to it...

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Nick Ryan
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Re: Applying business logic

That was exactly my thought when it comes to the updates. Technically they are compliant.

Also:

* It's not as if Windows XP will suddenly become more vulnerable than it is now.

* These systems run a modularised version of Windows XP with as much of the crud as is possible uninstalled or, in the worst cases, disabled. I have configured and deployed Windows XP like this as it is rock solid and the number of vectors for external attack is minimal. For example, you're vulnerable on the fundamental IP networking stack and your own application listening on this.

* These systems are individually firewalled to control the incoming and outgoing routes of data.

As for why XP? Because of the ease of development and the advantages a "mature" OS brings when it comes to the level and depth of device drivers. While a more restrictive OS would generally provide more security, given that there could be dozens of printer variants to support, dozens of card readers, dozens of screens and so on, separating the application and the device through the OS is the right way to go.

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Satisfy my scroll: El Reg gets claws on Windows 8.1 spring update

Nick Ryan
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Re: As if this will make people happy!

There is nothing "new" for you to jump through in Windows 8 if you've actually bothered to learn the keyboard shortcuts. Which is, incidentally, what you're supposed to do. (Mice are the biggest cause of RSI, not keyboards. You really aren't supposed to use them all the time.)

This may be an ideal, however MS have been steadily hiding keyboard shortcuts in windows and their applications, making them less obvious and often removing them entirely.

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Nick Ryan
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Re: As if this will make people happy!

Not really. It would cost £2K per processor I wanted to run it on and I'd have to re-pay yearly or they'd sue me.

You forgot the bit about the documentation being extra, the product being obsolete and unsupported after a year leaving a system with serious functional and security holes. And you'll still be expected to pay per processor, or even per core, for this until you paid for an upgrade and continued again. Just with higher costs.

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