Lisa suddenly realised that the dark side of the web and Silk Road were not what she was expecting.
137 posts • joined 25 Apr 2008
I don't miss them
I have mixed opinions about Vaios. On one hand, the hardware was indeed nice, and the chassis were very desirable and good looking.
On the downside, Sony's support was appalling, software support was dreadful, and they were one of the worst offenders of installing bloatware. I've had brand new Vaios where the XP Start Menu was comfortably overflowing into two columns straight out of the box there was that much junk installed. And some of the bits didn't even come with installers.
Therefore, from a support point of view, I don't miss them one bit. I tend to prefer ThinkPads as you get the solid hardware without all the crap.
I would have gone for Marzipan, but that's just nuts!
Re: Who actually wears a watch anymore? And why?
I wear a normal watch. It takes me barely a second to flick my wrist around to see the time. Far, far easier than rummaging around in my pocket for my phone, pulling it out, waking it up etc. etc.
I think a smart watch might be pushing it a bit though...
Re: no matter what MS force on us
A few examples for you:
1) I'm away from the house and roaming via a data connection on my phone (especially if abroad). I don't want my laptop to suddenly download hundreds of MBs of updates and cost me a fortune in data costs.
2) I'm in the middle of playing a game. I don't want Windows to start stuttering away whilst it's busy installing a pile of updates at the same time. In fact replace "playing a game" with any sort of PC behaviour you don't want interrupted.
3) Important work: I'm working on some major work, and Windows updates have (from time to time) caused problems (BSODs, reboot loops etc). I probably want to postpone those updates until a less critical time.
These are just a few of the examples as to why I use the "Notify, but let me choose" option in Windows 7. I get to choose when the updates are downloaded and installed in order to prevent any problems for me. By all means leave "Auto" as the default, but if a user wants to change this, they often have a good reason for doing so and MS blocking it is not helpful in the slightest.
To be fair, most people running a 32bit OS are doing so for legacy/compatibility reasons, not for CPU compatibility issues. With the exception of the earlier Atom CPUs, pretty much all PC CPUs have been 64bit for around 10 years or more.
I'd say if you still have 32bit only systems, they'll either be absolutely ancient, or will be very slow and early Atom based systems (still a number of years old). Unless compatibility with old software or peripherals is required, they should be replaced promptly regardless of whether Windows 10 is adopted.
Re: RE: I'm probably not going to even look at it until SP1
Heh, I've heard that one before. The thing is, if a product gets a bad reputation, sometimes the only option is to fix it and re-release it with a new name so that people think it's a brand new product and approach it with a fresh/open mind. Never count against MS doing that if they feel that Windows 10 is not taking off as they'd hoped.
After all, fixed/updated Vista was called Windows 7 (with only a .1 increment in the NT version number), Windows 8.2 was shelved, expanded and renamed to Windows 10, etc.
Re: Self confessed audiophile
Well put. Going for high resolution audio is pointless as long as the music industry continues to insist upon destroying the quality of music during mastering. A high resolution recording that has been smashed to bits during mastering will sound far, far worse than a CD quality recording that has been mastered to sound good instead of loud.
The first thing the industry should do is ditch this stupid practice (so many online streaming services auto-level the volume anyway - making the whole thing pointless). Once they done that and are mixing/mastering music with the intention of achieving maximum sound quality, then maybe high-def audio formats may be something that can sell.
Until then, they're just effectively trying to sell high-resolution photos of a turd. Doesn't matter how sharp and detailed they are, the result is still a turd at the end of the day
Dell are an interesting one. The screens on all their laptops are pretty dreadful, but a number of the business oriented ones do have fairly decent keyboards and trackpads. My work machine is a Latitude E6430. Nice keyboard, very good trackpad (with buttons - although the later driver stupidly reverses the scroll direction until you tweak the registry), and decent build quality too. The only thing that really lets is down is the awful 1366x768 screen with a bezel that's so fat you could park a car at each side of it. They'll happily take 16GB of RAM, which is nice.
Meanwhile, the missus has a Samsung Series 9. Lovely build quality, fairly nice 1600x900 matte screen, but the keyboard is only average and the touchpad is too big and it's annoying to use due to the lack of buttons. Soldered 4GB of RAM too which is a pity.
I just find it disappointing that laptop manufacturers keep on pumping out poor quality kit all the time, then wondering why it's not selling that well. I can honestly say over the last few years that I've not seen a single laptop out there that manages to combine a good screen with a decent keyboard, good trackpad and decent build quality. To my mind, these are the basics. It's also the reason why I've not bought one.
Am I the only one who looks at these and sees a pile of cheap looking laptops with nasty low-res glossy screens and who then thinks "No wonder people aren't buying new laptops"?
I really don't see why the laptop manufacturers find it so difficult. Cut the crap screens (especially the appalling 1366x768 resolution) and provide some with nice resolution matte displays. Also, stop using 16:9 on everything and add a bit of variety. Plenty of cheap tablets provide 16:10 or 3:2 screens, as do some Macbooks, Surface Pro 3, Google Pixel etc. So why are they not an option in any proper laptops?
Secondly quit with the whole "bigger is better" for trackpads. My wife leaves the trackpad on her laptop almost permanently disabled because it's so big it interferes with typing too much. The touchpad on that HP Envy is just ridiculous. There's no palm rests left any more! Oh, and put the proper buttons back. They may not look as sleek, but they improve usability tenfold.
Lastly, do a bit of work into making a good keyboard as well. One with some real travel to the keys and good tactile feedback. Even Lenovo (usually famed for their keyboards) are failing here by adding multimedia buttons in place of function keys and generally diluting aspects of it as well.
Fact is, modern laptops have crap screens, generally disappointing keyboards, stupid trackpads and mostly feel cheap and unpleasant. Is it any wonder that I'm therefore keeping hold of my upgraded 2010 Thinkpad X201? 16:10 matte screen, excellent keyboard, decent trackpad and solid build quality. Try building a genuinely good laptop and you might be surprised how many people may actually want to buy it...
Re: Function Before Form
"I could care less how it looks."
So you do care then?
Re: A Review? Advertorial maybe....
Mr Palm, meet Mr Forehead...
The removable battery and SD card slot are some of the main reasons why former Samsung users like myself are jumping to the G4. Unlike the Galaxy S6, this was designed for usability, not just for looking shiny.
It's all about making it sound fancy. That's why people were all taken in by posh sounding names such as "FullHD" - usually not realising that such screens sometimes had *less* pixels than the 1920x1200 screens they were replacing. And don't get me started on standard "HD" screens. If ever there was a way of marketing 1366x768 as a good resolution...
Re: where are all the @#$%@#$% 16:10 monitors
Not weird at all, I prefer them as well. Although they are usually a bit more expensive these days, so that might be why there aren't any in the list.
Re: Lack of removable storage=deal breaker
I'm in full agreement. I was eagerly awaiting the S6 as a possible replacement for my ageing S3, but the lack of removable storage is a complete deal breaker. It's not just the ability to cheaply add storage that's the problem, it's the way I currently just pop the SD card into my PC, manage the music on it via a PC-based sync tool, then pop it back into the phone. Very fast, very easy. And where I live in the north of Scotland, 3G/4G is just too patchy to be of any reliable use.
HTC manage to create a phone which has a premium metal feel, yet still includes an SD slot, so it's certainly possible to do. By removing one of Samsung's key features / selling points from this phone, they've ensured that I will not be buying one.
Instead, I've gone down the custom ROM route instead. It's completely re-vitalised the performance of my S3 and it includes an important feature that the S6 doesn't. Vote with your wallets everyone!
Actually, Firefox *used* to be the customisable one.
With every version they're locking more and more of it down, stripping out customisability and are forcing people to rely upon an ever-increasing messy-list of extensions to add back functionality/customisability that used to come by default with the browser.
The Australis "overhaul" alone removed the status bar, removed tabs-on-bottom, locked the address bar to the left, and removed the ability to put stop/reload wherever you want.
Firefox is slipping into obscurity as Mozilla seem hell-bent on making it look and work like Chrome, whilst continually removing all the powerful bits that used to make Firefox stand out. Hence why after nearly 10 years as my primary browser, I finally ditched it last year.
Re: @Iain Thomson
Similar idea here. I have a 5-year-old ThinkPad X201. With an SSD, a memory upgrade and a replacement keyboard, it's been completely re-vitalised. And it has a 16:10 screen unlike the 16:9 crap that Lenovo (and everyone else) insist on sticking onto all their computers these days. There's no reason why older laptops can't be easily revitalised with a couple of quick upgrades, then no new laptop is required - malware or otherwise.
Re: Have they enabled look like Firefox yet?
I use Pale Moon as a result. A forked version of Firefox which retains the classic interface, but still receives updates and the likes. The introduction of Australis signaled the end of my usage of Firefox and its market share recently shows that I'm far from the only one that jumped ship.
Agreed! All the speed in the world doesn't change the fact that Australis is a hideous affront to everything Mozilla stands for (and its plummeting market share shows that I'm far from being the only one who feels this way). I just need to wait for the newer Spidermonkey version to be added onto Pale Moon...
Agreed. I despise BT ever since being ripped off by them a few years back and I really was not looking forward to having to jump network from O2 if they were bought by BT (seeing as they're one of the only networks that provides a signal where I live). To all EE customers, you have my sympathy...
Re: real work?
By the time you get your 16:9 laptop screen to a height where it can compare to a 4:3 screen, it'll be a 21" laptop by this point. Laptops are judged by diagonal space and a 16:9 15.4" screen has less vertical room than a 16:10 15.4" screen (repeat for the other sizes).
Additionally, 16:9 means that once-useful screen space is replaced with a thicker plastic bezel (check most modern laptops and you'll see the top and bottom of the bezel is much thicker than the sides). It means a screen which is smaller in physical area than a 16:10 screen of the same comparable diagonal size. It usually means a drop in resolution as 1920x1200 becomes 1920x1080, and 2560x1600 becomes 2560x1440.
And worst of all, it was pushed for one reason alone: To make the panels cheaper so the manufacturers could earn more profit and/or push ever cheaper and nastier laptops out. Fine on a £400 disposable laptop, annoying on a £2,000+ and supposedly "professional" laptop.
Elephant in the room
Unfortunately, you forgot the one thing that still really spoils all the PC versions. And that is, they all have the same cheap, nasty and multimedia-friendly 16:9 screens instead of a more professional oriented 16:10 screen. The Macbook is therefore still unique in this area.
The laptop manufacturers are all busy scrabbling around trying to turn things around, but the one thing they're yet to click on is that the professional user does NOT want a 16:9 screen. Doesn't matter how many pixels they cram in, the aspect ratio is still rubbish and not geared towards proper work.
Give me a 16:10 option and I'll whip out my credit card and join the queue. Until then, I'll stick with my upgraded 2010 Lenovo laptop. Because it's designed for work, not just for watching movies on.
Sorry, not whilst it has the abomination that is Australis. I ended my long association with Firefox recently over this very issue.
Well, I've used BMC Remedy and it was absolutely bloody awful. I was thoroughly delighted when the time came for me to leave the company that used that awful pile of crap. Now, the current company I work for uses ServiceNow. It's not perfect, but it's a thousand times better than Remedy IMO.
Glad I left Firefox
Not content with ruining the interface and customisability with "Australis", now they're doing this as well. That's why after using Firefox as my main browser since it was Firebird 0.6 I removed it recently and migrated to Pale Moon. FF classic interface, supports FF addons and no Australis or sponsored tiles nonsense!
Re: I would really like a decent gaming mouse and keyboard
Allow me to recommend the Ducky Shine range of keyboards. They're not cheap, but mine looks simple, black and restrained. Turn it on and you get wonderful backlighting, mechanical keys (Cherry MX brown in mine), programmable macros etc. Turn it off, and it goes back to being a simple and clean-looking keyboard.
Re: firefox ESR updated too
Agreed. I also messed around with Classic Theme Restorer for a while, got sick of the bodging (plus it didn't originally play nice with some of my other tab-manipulating add-ons), so I ended up moving to Pale Moon. Like Firefox, with add-on support, but without the awful new interface.
Re: Time for some truly revolutionary GUIs?
Instead of having to manually draw out each letter in a word, imagine if someone could create a device where you press a single button to get that letter to appear. And imagine how much faster people would work if they get hold of such device and become proficient with it...
Re: The problem with that
Hence there's a reason why so many people are driven to utter distraction that they feel the need to install an ad-blocker. From the advertisers point of view, their relentless approach to make their ads more and more intrusive and in-your-face has meant people just switching them off altogether.
I agree entirely. A "Workstation" should be designed for work, this means having a screen resolution and aspect ratio which is geared towards work. 1920x1080 16:9 panels do NOT cut it for professional use. If this had a 1920x1200 panel with an optional 2560x1600 panel, it'd be great.
As it is, laptop manufacturers insistence on sticking with crap, cheap multimedia panels - even on supposedly high end machines is one of the main reasons why I am NOT replacing my existing laptop (Lenovo Thinkpad with a 16:10 panel, Core i5 and recently upgraded to 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD, because that way I got to keep the nice screen).
Re: FF at home has gone nearly unuusable
Pale Moon is worth a shout. Basically a heavily tweaked Firefox. It's compatible with FF extensions and removes some of Mozilla's annoyances (Australis theme being one of them).
There's a warmth to the sound from vinyl you just can't recreate with CD's or MP3's
Part of this does come from the mastering being scaled back a tad. Vinyl just doesn't suffer from the same, blatant, digital clipping that MP3s and CDs suffer from in this day and age. If you do put a clipped waveform onto a vinyl, the response of the needle will smooth off the worst of the damage, hence reducing the harshness of the sound.
Of course, this vinyl will sound MUCH better than the CD release for one reason from the article above:
- Zero compression used in the mastering
Now THAT is good news. The CD release will almost certainly be dynamically compressed and fully of clipping/distortion (the usual in other words), whilst the vinyl should be rich, dynamic and natural. If only more bands could look at mastering stuff properly for vinyl. Last one I saw before this was Red Hod Chili Peppers - Stadium Arcadium (vinyl was mastered separately by Steven Hoffman and sounds fantastic in comparison to the CD).
Bad news, but I'm struggling to be sympathetic
I agree that the world needs Sony. MS needs competition in the gaming arena and it's only because of the laid back attitude that Sony took with the PS4 that MS was forced to backtrack on some of the awful restrictions that they wanted to impose on the XBone. As a result, I want the PS4 to succeed and the XBone to fail.
But, with their past attitude towards consumers (the awful rootkit scandal and their bungled response to it, the DRM which crippled the Minidisk system, appalling Vaio support etc), Sony is a company which has exhausted a lot of my sympathy. I've spent the last few years avoiding Sony where possible as a result due to their previous immoral attitudes towards its previously loyal customers, so I'm not surprised to see them losing money. Dump on your customers and they'll return the favour by shopping elsewhere.
Saying that, I hope Sony does survive. Their attitude with the PS4 has been much improved. If they keep it up, maybe I will one day buy Sony products again.
Microsoft got themselves into this mess and only have themselves to blame. Windows 8 was a decidedly half-baked release. Even the biggest fan of TIFKAM has to admit that the shutdown process for example was ridiculously convoluted and the whole interface was very immature.
This has meant MS scrabbling to release updated versions to fix Windows 8's shortcomings, and now MS is stuck in the hole of either supporting multiple versions of its OS, or discontinuing support for them. If they'd bothered to ensure that TIFKAM was properly implemented in the first place, they wouldn't have this issue.
And of course, a lot of Windows 8's problems from a perception point of view are down to the "stick" approach that MS used to push TIFKAM. They wanted in on mobile, so they made a deliberate decision to try and *force* it onto everyone. They went out of their way to disable registry hacks for beta versions of Windows 8 that re-enabled the start menu and decided that hitting with the stick was the right approach. You WILL use our new, convoluted and immature interface whether you like it or not.
Call me picky, but if there's one thing I DETEST, it's a company dictating to me exactly how I should use their products, exactly how I must use their interface, etc, all to try and drive that company into markets which do not concern me. The result is a deep personal hatred for Windows 8. Not just from a technical/interface point of view, but from a point of view of what it stands for.
The only thing MS can do to get around this really is to accept that Windows 8 and the stick approach has been a failure, add more options and customisability back into Windows (which they are slowly doing), and then kill off the Windows 8 brand altogether.
Like I say, all their own fault. the more you hit with the stick, the more people will resist as a matter of principle. And now with multiple versions to support or abandon, they're riling up even the adopters.
Re: Cuing the obligatory audiophile discussion regarding sample rates...
It's not the sample rate that bothers me, just the overall point of this. I simply do not see the point of introducing high-definition audio formats when the music industry is utterly and totally incapable of making proper use of the existing technology. Modern music (well, for about the last 15-20 years) sounds absolutely dreadful - not because of sample rates or MP3 compression, but because of the utterly abysmal mastering.
The fact is that almost all music since the mid-90s has been mastered and released without the slightest bit of interest in quality. Instead, it's all dynamically compressed into a lifeless brick-wall of fatiguing distortion and clipping. CDs from the late 80s and early 90s showed how good basic 44.1Khz 16bit stereo can sound, but the format has since been utterly abused by the industry.
In my opinion, this is what needs to be fixed first. Sod spending £17 on another copy of a classic album, just learn how to properly use and exploit the existing technology first before we worry about 92Khz, 24bit and surround sound. The old CD format has the potential to deliver MUCH better sounding music, if only the music industry would try exploiting that potential.
Agreed. Windows 3.1 had more going for it visually than the Windows 8 desktop. I've used it on a couple of machines and the bland, lifelessness of the Windows 8 desktop just feels depressing.
Re: Someone must be blind to think thats a Window 7 Start Menu
Just depends how tweakable it is. The impending return of the Start Menu is a good thing. However MS need to keep it tweakable. So long as I can tweak it to suit my needs, great! Now all they have to do is provide some desktop themes that dont look lifeless, flat and downright god-awful. Sorry MS, the Windows 8 desktop is just a dreary place to be. The Windows 7 desktop looks far more visually pleasing still.
Re: Isn't the iPad (and code) part of the deceased's property?
And this is an account which is set up on the iPad already (and hence locked), and which is in the name of a relative for whom they have the death certificate and will? Surely that combination of information rules out the chance of it being stolen from Joe Public.
Re: Am i the only one
It's likely to make a bit of noise, but not too much. I have an old SGI machine at home which has a 15K 3.5" system disk and although it's audible, the noise is surpisingly low. And as said, noise in a datacenter is less of an issue anyway due to cooling fans, aircon and the likes.
Re: Is this laptops as well?
Samsung make some very nice laptops. The Series 9 ones are sleek, robust and well built.
Sony always had dreadful support and this is a prime reason why I stopped buying their kit. Took them nearly a month to replace the motherboard in my sister's Vaio for example.
Then at work we bought a Vaio for a member of staff. Battery died just after a year and we were quoted nearly £250 for a replacement. They charged £45 for a set of driver disks for it (and even then they were fresh from someone's CD burner), the thing was piled to the gills with crapware and took hours to clean up into a usable state.
In fact, we had such a bad experience that we placed a block on buying any further Sony laptops - the only company that we had this with.
Sony make some nice hardware, but fail dismally with software and support, and the whole package is important when you're shelling out £1,000 for a supposedly premium product.
Bye bye Vaio, you won't be missed. Not by me anyway!
Re: What we want to know is...
Many people I know used it and learnt it - myself included. I can navigate around Windows 8 from TIFKAM, I can get into the control panel, shut down Windows etc. The problem is that I find TIFKAM to be less usable and less optimal than the Start menu. The Start menu was smaller, quicker and easier to use IMO.
TIFKAM is like Marmite. Some do admittedly love it, but too many people out there do not like it. Too many for a company like MS with around 90% of the desktop/laptop market to just force it unconditionally onto everyone without creating a backlash.
Re: Bring back Aero too
Agreed! Mixed case is easier to view without really thinking - hence why it's used on road signs and the likes. And I also bemoan the loss of rounded corners. Even Windows 3 had rounded corners...
The default themes in Windows 8 for the desktop are dire, and you can't add new ones without hacking about with system files. Even then, you cannot restore all the functionality that Windows 7 could do with the desktop visual elements.
MS: Add choice. Give people a choice of flashy/rounded UI themes or flat/square ones. Give them a choice of TIFKAM or Start Menu. Add choice and the complaints will go away.
Re: You're right about the screen!
It's a nice, high res, but has two drawbacks. Firstly, it's still 16:9, so an aspect ratio that is geared towards watching movies rather than producing work on. Secondly, it's a glossy screen and I HATE shiny reflections when I'm trying to get some work done.
Back in about 2007 at a previous job, I was fortunate enough to have access to a Dell Latitude D820 which had a 15.4" matte 1920x1200 screen. The clarity was excellent (and not too small that Windows looked bad - due to its poor DPI scaling) and programming on this machine was beautiful. Last I heard, it was still in use as there's simply nothing out there replacement-wise today that can match it screen wise.
Re: You're right about the screen!
"Can't we have 1680x1050 as a minimum, 1900x1200 for mid-range (think of it as Full HD with some extra space at the bottom for subtitles), and 2560x1600 for serious work?"
Now that would be beautiful. Just beautiful. I'd splash out right now if someone could make a 15" laptop with a 1920x1200 screen. They used to make them 4 years ago, but not anymore.
Agreed. I can just about accept a 1366x768 screen on a budget £400 laptop. But when I'm paying high prices, I don't expect a low-res, cheap-as-chips screen like this. Ideally I expect 16:10 of course for work because screen resolutions have actually gone backwards over the last few years (at work, we're replacing laptops that have 1280x800 res screens with 1366x768. For vertical space, that's a downgrade).
I still hate how you look at modern laptops and see such a fat bezel at the top and bottom to make up for where usable screen space used to be 3 years ago (this Toshiba is no exception).
Personally, I'd still go with the Samsung Series 9. <£900 and you get a very sleek ultrabook with a matte 1600x900 screen, backlit keyboard etc. It's not perfect, but it's still pretty decent, and it's a much better display than this!
Re: What's the point of upgrading
Precisely. Both my desktop PC and laptop are approaching 4 years old. Both are Core i5 (2.6GHz in the laptop, 3.2GHz in PC), 6-8GB of RAM, both now have SSDs. Only major upgrade I've made (apart from the SSDs) was to replace the budget graphics card in the PC, and even then it was to a £170 Radeon.
Result, it boots in a flash, can run Skyrim at 1920x1200 with all the detail on maximum. So, why replace it? Go back a few years and an upgrade to a dual/quad core CPU from an old single core CPU was quite noticeable, and ditching a clunky P4 made a world of difference. These days, if I spend hundreds of pounds replacing my PC with a Haswell system, I honestly doubt that I'd notice much difference over my old system.
Intel are right to focus on power efficiency improvements with Haswell, but for me the difference doesn't justify a new system - especially (laptop wise) when it'd mean downgrading to an awful 16:9 screen!
Re: You're banning it wrong
Apple products currently leave a nasty taste in my mouth*, to such a level that I find it morally wrong to buy one at the moment. Apple's incessant suing of everyone over tiny, petty and pointless details - especially when they didn't invent most of them themselves anyway - is really starting to grate - and that's before you even get to the walled-off App store and Apple's anti-competitive rules for app publising etc.
My stance was similar for several years with Sony over their dreadful attitude over the Rootkit scandal some time back, Ubisoft over their awfully invasive DRM, EA over their cannibalism and destruction of small gaming studios - just in case someone thinks I'm just anti-Apple.
As it is, I know from talking to friends that I'm not the only one who feels this way. Apple have to ultimately realise that constant legal action over petty details makes them look like a sad, desparate, petty and moaning company. Suing over bigger technical infringements is fair enough, but when they're suing Samsung over the little rubber band effect, or HTC over "slide to unlock", it just gets ridiculous.
Apple: Please grow up, or else this will end up costing you even more sales as punters become increasingly sick of your attitude to competition.
* Now that really IS holding it wrong!
First the layout, now this
Yet another calamity to hit them, following the awful roll out of their updated interface a couple of months back. In just 2 months, Yahoo Mail has gone from a powerful and flexible interface on top of a pretty reliable mail system, to a crippled, stripped out and lousy UI on top of a flaky mail system. Two reasons why I'm in the process of ditching my 14 year-old Yahoo Mail account...