32 posts • joined Saturday 7th June 2008 01:36 GMT
Re: I want to say something new...
I have used Windows 8 for about six months on a machine that used to run Windows 7; primarily used for development, office productivity software and, of course, websurfing. Windows 8's under-the-hood improvements make the machine feel faster than it used to.
File operations involve fewer prompts and the progress shown is more instructive (when I used Windows 7 to copy directories from one place to another, sometimes it felt like I was trapped in a game of "Mother May I?").
Start menu? Yeah, I missed it, and found a nice application called StartIsBack for $3, which boots me to desktop and gives me the classic start menu. If Microsoft would bring up a start screen without blocking everything I'm working on, I would be good with that, in the meantime, I'm good with this. Reminds me of the days when I paid a lot more than $3 to get a decent file manager on Windows 3.1.
Don't let the vitriol about Metro get in the way of a decent upgrade. Every so often I will peek in at the "Modern UI" to play around with updated applications. But 99% of my time is spent quite comfortably in the familiar desktop environment.
Re: If car manufacturers were to do the same...
The "car arrangement" argument may run counter to the point a lot of people are trying to make.
I can accept that consistency for consistency's sake is meaningful for automobiles. I can go rent a car and the steering wheel, accelerator and brake will be roughly where I expect them to be. I accept that. But the idea that any change in a computer desktop paradigm is automatically bad seems a little extreme.
What Microsoft and Ubuntu are trying to do, perhaps unsuccessfully, is to converge the desktop and mobile user experience to provide the same consistency that everybody seems to feel is so vital in automobiles. Once upon a time, when a PC and phone were as far apart as an airplane and car, it would make sense that a PC looked and operated completely different than a phone. Today the difference is shrinking, maybe more along the lines a bus versus a sports car. A bus, economy car, RV camper and sedan all perform different functions, but have enough consistency that anybody who can drive one could have a reasonable chance of driving any. I don't think it's a wasted effort for people to try to bring the same kind of consistency to computing devices, whether they sit on my desk or, like today, in my pocket.
I am not a huge fan of Microsoft's "modern interface" for the desktop, but I can see where they are going with it, and with some more refinement, I believe it will work out. Microsoft does seem to be listening to feedback and adapting. To me, that's the way it ought to work.
Re: Who is the Eadon Fellow and why does anyone care what he says?
I think it may be time for a "nuclear" option... All of Eadon's posts should be re-routed to a "meta-discussion" at http://theregister.co.uk/eadon. There, any of us who need a fix for anti-M$ screed can quickly go there and get our fill. Anybody who wants to waste keyboard clicks at trying to point out logical fallacies can humor themselves at their leisure.
There will likely be some ongoing maintenance since Eadon may assume pen-names, but given the correct motivation, perhaps TheRegister users can band together to create Eadon-detecting heuristics. Ordinarily, I would propose writing something like that in PERL, but because it's Eadon, perhaps we figure out a way to make it work in C#/.NET.
Re: Windows 8 - My thoughts..
I put Windows 8 on a Windows 7 desktop, Xeon X5650 with 12GB of RAM. After living with it for a couple of months:
1. The UI for copying files and folders works *much* better, Windows 7 was a pain when copying over existing folders (two different dialogs with different hotkey shortcuts). The progress graph is nice too. Network copies seem a little slower, but not by enough to make me miss the multiple copy dialogs. The Explorer ribbon is fine, although I wish they would have kept more of the older keyboard shortcuts.
2. My system *seems* faster. Boot up time is definitely quicker. Things like Control Panel render much more quickly, Visual Studio (still on 2010) comes up more quickly and seems perkier.
3. I am not a Metro fan. After putting on StartIsBack I never see Metro and the old Ctrl-Esc works exactly like it did before, this utility is among the best $3 I ever spent.
Overall, my computer runs better, and I have not had to make major changes to my usage patterns. It kind of reminds me of when I went from Windows 2000 to XP. I'm happy with it.
Title Hyperbole Alert
Koh said that that there would be a new trial for the $450B damages, not that they would completely disappear. The amount will go down, but it's not clear by how much. This decision merely means that Koh has job security from this case until she is ready for her pension.
Paris, because she rarely reads beyond the title.
Untie the Gordian Knot
To be a bit Pollyannaish, maybe the browser manufacturers could agree upon an interface implementation that just was about DOM access, manipulation and event notification; and leave the language semantics and constructs at the "plug-in" level, triggered by script tagging. If you want to implement PERL or PASCAL for the browser, go for it. Grammar, punctuation, white space handling, collections, variable naming, whatever, the browser should not worry about it.
When the browser comes across a type attribute in a script tag it hasn't encountered before, the browser can prompt the user to download or find an appropriate plug-in. Embedded scripts would have to play nice with HTML syntax and grammar, but external scripts can use whatever markup they want.
Security? Well, scripting languages can't do anything with the underlying system that the browser doesn't allow (i.e. no unlimited file system or device access), same as today. Browser manufacturers would have to do some work to make sure that the sandbox scripting engines would play in would be sufficiently isolated from the file system, heap, etc.) . This approach may be somewhat in line with the "browser is the OS" meme that Google pushes, but in any sophisticated website, the browser really is acting like a very limited OS. I don't have a problem with that as long as the limits are well defined, understood and complied with (no nasty ActiveX-like shenanigans please).
Mine's the one looking for his "Python for Web Pages" O'Reilly book...
Re: Does ANYONE use GPL 3?
56,000? That's an impressive stat. Name 20 of them that more than 100 people use.
As might come to a shock to some, there are a number of people who use their smartphones as, well, a phone....
In a phone review, such as this one, it would be nice if the ability to make and hold a call were talked about. How good is the speakerphone? The battery may go belly-up after hours of streaming video or playing a FPS, but what about if I just have it polling my email every quarter hour? Will the battery withstand a one-hour conversation (my EVO 4G barely does)?
Might Be a Good Thing
On Windows 7 and Gnome 3, I really like being able to launch a box where I can type in a few characters and launch what I want. I rarely use the OS menu hierarchy anymore. For an application, I think it could be pretty cool as well, provided that you can easily bind an operation with a keyboard shortcut once you find it. As an example, in Visual Studio I accidentally closed my call stack. It would have been nice to hit a key, type in "Call" and had "Call Stack Window" come up as an option, instead of searching through the menus and submenus to find the thing. It will also hopefully cure the tendency of applications like Chrome to expose a small number of top-level UI elements and cram most things into dialog tabs.
The thing is, I want somebody besides Apple thinking about usability in a serious way. If the geek community wants to continue using Gnome 2, CLI, etc. forever, it's all good. But if Shuttleworth and his minions can find ways to keep my hands on the keyboard and off the mouse, I'm more than willing to try them out.
Should We All Be Equally Worthless?
I don't see having all available options to make my life easier/better as an inalienable human right. I believe myself fortunate to be born into a society where I have many options available to me, but I'm not sure that browsing the Internet instead of want ads is a "right". Is it more convenient and more efficient for me and a prospective employer? Absolutely. Is it something I would lay down the life of me or my family? Nope.
Should engineers and their employers be guardians of human rights? Profit driven ventures are the guardians of shareholder value. If we start confusing share prices with the ability to live, things are going to get confused. Humans are the guardians of Human Rights. If people live in an oppressive regime, the onus is on them to stand up, and often die, in defense of life and liberty.
You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
If there was a reference to Apple or Google swimming down the bottom of the ocean to tap fiber and selling the capability to the highest bidder, this forum would have hundreds of posts. It is a little disheartening that people take this sort of institutional, pan-government sponsored attack on privacy for granted.
Personally, I'm not surprised that this goes on in developed nations; I don't like it, but our privacy has been lost to corporate oligarchies for quite some time now. What scares me about this article is the proliferation of this tech to any regime on the face of the earth.
It's not just Big Brother anymore, it's all of his little despotic newphews.
Yeah... Right... that patented Android Battery life
Not an Apple fan, I like my Evo, but if there is anybody who should be shot for providing crap battery life it's HTC and Google. If I actually have the temerity to use the thing as an actual phone, I can almost hear the sound of the battery draining like air being left out of tires.
In an office full of geeks, most of us with smartphones, I don't know of any of us who consider the battery life on any of them acceptable, except for the Blackberry users. Those damned smug Blackberry users with their little Blackberry Messenger network and their multi-day battery life...
I don't necessarily *hate* Unity, but I don't see what its purpose is in the marketplace. A touch-friendly shell doesn't make your applications automatically touch-friendly. And if your applications aren't touch-friendly, then you don't have a touch-friendly platform.
If Canonical is trying to position themselves as an alternative to Android for tablets, I'm not sure how they succeed with the same applications having GUIs that are awkward to use on desktops, and doubly-so on a tablet form-factor.
A couple of things they can do to get me on board:
1) Get rid of the stupid scroll line in Dash. If you don't aim your mouse and click exactly within the few pixels they give you, you either don't get a scroll or the Dash window appears altogether. Either use "normal" scroll bars or use the thumb scroll.
2) I like how Gnome brings up its launcher by moving the mouse to the top left without having to click. Not sure if Unity has something similar, but it would be cool. Again, too much concern for the tablet crowd.
3) Allow me to set up different program bars for different workspaces. If I'm in my first workspace, I could set up my bar with "everyday" stuff - browser, email, etc. Second workspace, development tools and shortcuts to my project folders. Third workspace, office productivity applications. Etc. Etc. ad Nauseum. You can still bring up Dash from any workspace and get to any program you want.
I like that Canonical is trying something different. I even like that Microsoft is trying different stuff (albeit the green metro screen looks like vomit). But you gotta show love to your entrenched base or else they don't stay entrenched.
It would be epic if NeTV filed for a patent on super-imposing video content onto an encrypted video stream using a publicly available hacked encryption key.
Could Be Evil
There are mechanisms in HTML 5 for local storage and offline web applications. If the solution is Chrome-only, then either Google is adding more complete support for these HTML 5 functions than any other browser, or they are adding non-standards functionality into their browsers. If it's the latter, then this, along with Chrome native code, is a troubling trend.
Make a Business Tablet
If anybody were serious about getting non-Apple tablets out into users' hands they would have repeated what happened with PCs. They would have made something business-friendly, set an aggressive price-point, and then people would have them in their hands. The same thing as happened as with happened with Mac vs. PCs. Were Macs better than PCs in many respects? Sure (unless you wanted to multitask). But people stuck with what they used, and later what they carried home from work.
What would a business tablet look like?
1. Rugged, along the lines of a ThinkPad. Sleek and beautiful is good, but having a form factor and material that would stand up to actually being used outside of a sofa or coffee shop would be great.
2. Peripheral integration: Make it drop-dead easy to add on peripherals that have business value add, such as bar code scanners (not the camera that wastes time focusing) - and set up a physical form factor that one could clip-on such peripherals to or, as appropriate, just build it in.
3. If nobody can't fix Android battery life, add another few ounces on and put a bigger battery in
4. Set up a device management infrastructure that the enterprise (not Apple or Google) can control. "Borrow" liberally from Blackberry and, dare I say, Microsoft's Active Directory. Yes, AD has its warts, but it made PC's a lot more manageable. Make it drop-dead simple to set permissions, deploy applications, and communicate with corporate assets (i.e. VPN tunneling). There are hackish ways to do these things, but I haven't seen any integrated, easy-to-roll out ways. Enterprise support has to mean more than an Exchange connector.
It almost seems that the biggest challenge tablets have to overcome is that they are currently built to subsidize Apple and Google visions of what computing should be. Apple tables behave as if they're mostly a portal to Apple's media collateral, and Google's are they that are just a front end to Google's web application stack. I imagine that there are a number of business use cases that involve neither iTunes nor GMail.
Netflix is on a number of Androids
I've been catching up on my Dr. Who on an HTC EVO while on the gym treadmill, works well enough. Yeah, I wish they would do a Linux client, but I can see the difficulty in doing so while maintaining content owners' rights.
Mark me in the streaming Netflix + Redbox column.
Pot, meet kettle
"the chances of anyone independently coming up with the name Wi-Fi Sync for an app/function that allows you to, er, sync over Wi-Fi was pretty high"
Almost as high as coming up with the term Appstore for a store that sells apps...
Not Exactly Unprecedented
The whole VB6 to VB.NET deal was met with angst, and lets not get started on the constant "reinvention" of the data layer we've put up with (ODBC, ADO, RDO, ADO.NET, LINQ to SQL, and now Data Entity Framework). Remember FoxPro? Microsoft has never been one to be coy about calling a "mulligan".
That being said, if I can write quality front-ends for applications that are data-centric using HTML5/JS, and have them work on any device (PC, tablet, smartphone) without worrying about plug-ins, I think that's groovy. It's not like WPF is all that great, for example it's still cumbersome to write asynchronously updating UI's (why should I have to bother with InvokeRequired/Invoke?)
To me, the biggest risk is the immaturity of HTML5 and the beginnings of fragmentation we are seeing in implementations. Once we do get a standard, workable baseline for things like Canvas and HTTP sockets worked out though, it's going to be hard to make an argument to write all but the most demanding client apps (games?) in anything locked down to the Windows GUI.
PS3 as a Home Entertainment Hub
I have two devices that pass as entertainment "hubs". One is an LG Blue Ray player. I can stream content from Netflix or Vudu, watch YouTube, listen to music from Pandora, and LG never bugs me about who I am or puts anything else between me and my content other than a few remote clicks.
Contrast that with Sony. Why in the gods' names should I have to log into their network to stream Netflix? And why would they store answers to security questions as anything other than a non-reversible, salted hash? The TOC's I am supposed to "read, understand and acknowledge" whenever there is an update go beyond ridiculous. For all I know, I could be signing away my right not to be assembled into a human centipiPad...
I am not going to throw my PS3 in a bin, I do like the casual bout of beating up on Olympians, but the AV center we're assembling in our new house will not use the PS3 at its center. Sony has lost that right.
If M$ adds support in their OS for HTML 5 so that the OS can render it more quickly, I fail to see the danger. Does it mean that Windows could render pages more quickly than my Linux notebook? Possibly. Does that mean at all Linux users will instantly adopt Windows as their favorite OS? Doubtful. We'll continue to enjoy the the "great" performance of the Linux desktop made possible by the umpteen layers of abstraction between the desktop, windows manager, X windows and graphics drivers.
I see NaCl in Chrome as far more "evil". Google is delivering machine code in the browser. That serves to undermine HTML 5 and open standards by orders of magnitude more than M$ talking about "native" implementation of HTML 5 rendering.
Please... Craigslist shutting down their "adult services" section was not an impulsive reflex to appease some evil nanny state/corporate cabal. It was done because there was a boatload of illegal prostitution being brokered on it, including child prostitution. Tits not available on Facebook? So what? Facebook is simply trying to protect their market of narcissistic, Farmvilling tweeners whose parents will ban them from the site if it ends up being known as a porn repository.
Is it seriously being suggested there are insufficient images of mammary glands available on the Internet? Really?
How about steering a little of the conspiracy theory toward the countries that have set up nationally controlled firewalls (i.e. China, Saudi Arabia, etc.)? Oh wait, we can only bash on Evil Western Civilization, or more specifically, the USA and UK.
Conan the Barbarian
Now I know the point of the makeup when they invaded Thulsa Doom's fortress.
What is the web anymore?
There was a time when the Web was about setting up a way of sharing content, via hyperlinked documents, that could be rendered somewhat consistently on any platform.
It almost seems like the proliferation of webservices and increasing levels of functionality (complexity) being wedged into the browser are as much of a ploy to get around the network firewall security nazis as it is to usurp OS's and application platforms. In the old days, if I wanted a client server app to pass data over the Internet, I would establish a protocol, secure it with some sort of encryption, reserve a port and let my networking guys know that the port needed to be mapped to a server.
Getting back on point - if Google wants to make an application platform, they should start from a clean slate and quit encumbering the web. HTML5 has some elements of this (sockets, media rendering) but it's not enough, it's creaky, inelegant and has a lot of the traits of something that has been kludged by committee over time.
Developers need a real, distributed application platform. Stateful connections (without cookie lameness), straightforward persistence, consistent and known media formats, data interchange without having to muck about using XML or JSON, scalable vector graphics, a consistent UI toolkit. All this sort of sounds like what Java could have been, but the execution was a failure. Google can make this happen. They can build runtimes for Windows, Mac and Linux. Better yet, Google could create its own OS to optimize the implementation (but it should be more than Chrome running as a shell on top of Linux). This could finally be the thin-client solution shops have been promised for time-immemorial.
Going forward, keep the new releases well-versioned. Major new functionality (touch support, speech recognition, 3D, new media formats) should be major releases; minor functionality and bug fixes should be minor.
The native code browser add-in approach described seems like the same bad idea of making a browser and the web do things they were not designed to do, with the historical precedence of Netscape plug-in's, ActiveX and Flash. Start over.
Good News All Around
The good news for Intel is that when it upgrades all of its equipment to be able to use the XP compatibility mode, it will likely get a measurable discount from its PC partners.
The even better news for Intel's investors: the rest of us won't.
There is an obvious, self-serving reason why Intel is drinking the Windows 7 Kool-Aid.
By Definition(s), He's a Hacker
This fellow sounds like a combination of #2 and #3b. Not a particularly brilliant one, but motivated enough to at least do the obvious.
From dictionary.com (http://dictionary2.classic.reference.com/cite.html?qh=hacker&ia=luna)
1. a person or thing that hacks.
2. Slang. a person who engages in an activity without talent or skill: weekend hackers on the golf course.
3. Computer Slang.
a. a computer enthusiast.
b. a microcomputer user who attempts to gain unauthorized access to proprietary computer systems.
They'll Break a Record All Right
New World Record: Shortest time to failure of a published URL to achieve a download target. mozilla.com (including www.getfirefox.com is inaccessible -- I'm in California, I've been trying to get in since shortly after 10 a.m. PDT.
It'll be fun to read the "we had no way to anticipate the positive response" excuses. They are explicitly begging people to flood the site, and obviously do not have much of a plan for dealing with the traffic. They could have, for example, they could have a set up a small loader to download and then let that stream/torrent the download from mirrored sites. They could instructed webmasters on how to post the file and report downloads back to Mozilla (I'm sure more than a few anti-M$ folks would been happy to do so)
This is another example of my biggest problem with Firefox. For individuals, it's great. But it's management capabilities (centralized configuration control, update distribution, etc.) suck. As good as a browser Firefox is (and I've had pretty good luck with the ver 3 testing) they need to start taking the Enterprise more seriously.
I For One Welcome out new sockpuppet banning overlords.
Honestly though, after a day of trying to figure out why some .NET 2.0 code is having trouble getting recordsets from a newly clustered M$ SQL database - and on my fifth rum drink for the evening, it's hard to see why this is relevant other than the excellent comments made.
Paris - because I don't get her relevance either.
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