319 posts • joined 12 Aug 2008
Re: Has there been a paradigm shift and nobody told me?
>How exactly is a novice user supposed to know that his video editor is called "kdenlive", his music player is >called "amarok", or his PDF viewer is called "acrobat"?
The point is exactly that that they don't need to know this any more. Typing "music player" or "video editor" or "PDF reader*" does the job, and in all cases on my machine I don't even need to get past the first four characters, and that's just the first time too. Typing "internet" or "web" finds Firefox. If you wanted to edit firefox.desktop to include the search string "the orange thing" then that would work too, but that does sort of defeat the object.
Also you can still browse the menu in the old style, by section, and the menu interface itself is way bigger and easier to use than the old-style start menus, so I would argue that discoverability is up. Not only are there multiple complementary - not contradictory - routes to find things, but the old menu systems have (imo) been improved as well. I hear a lot of techies complaining about big icons, but the fact is big icons and simple interfaces are easy to use. Personally, I like big icons, but that's just me.
* actually 'PDF Reader' doesn't work in Gnome. But in that case a user would be clicking on downloaded a pdf file or, even more likely, wouldn't know even they were looking at a pdf 'cos it had opened in-browser. "Document viewer" works.
Re: Has there been a paradigm shift and nobody told me?
In Linux at least you have that choice. Install Mint and run MATE or Cinnamon, uninstall Zeitgeist or whatever. It's your call. Pretty sure you can turn off indexing in WinX as well.
So let's say I want to launch a video editing app, something I do reasonably often but not often enough I have a dock shortcut (although frankly I've stopped making those because I never use them). My choice for video editing is KDenlive, and I use it fairly regularly. I can click a menu-opening button, navigate through one, maybe two levels of menu and click a thing (just checked, four clicks). Or, I can press a button, type 'K' and hit enter. I think the first time I launched it I had to type KDen, but Gnome has learned what I mean now and I don't have lots of apps whose names start with K.
In either case I have to know what the app is called, or at least recognise it's icon. Although in the second case I could just type "video editor" and still get the same result.
However, I can also type "video editor", hit tab and launch a google or wikipedia search for that term. Sure, I probably already have a browser open, but I might not. Same number of steps though, but it's all through one interface. My computer is not a web page, but web pages represent a lot of what I do with my computer and being able to hook into them painlessly is nice. It's not essential, at all, but neither is a lot of stuff we like to do.
A slightly better example is Stellarium, which I use a lot. That's Win-S-Enter now, but it can also be "planetarium" (it shows it's link alone after 'plane' on my machine). But where would I look for that in a category? Science? Graphics? The (n)ever-useful "Accessories" category? Then there are apps which create their own app categories. Thanks "Limbo", you really needed to make a top-level menu entry? Nested, categorical menus need sorting by hand. Search-based, learning interfaces don't - they sort and manage themselves based on use levels.
Just to be clear I use Gnome Shell, not Unity. I am a huge fan of how slick, easy and seamless it is compared to the old 2.x/Win95 UI style. I'm not in any way saying search-based UIs are better for everyone, but they are better for some people. They do very well in "normal" user testing, which is why they're appearing more and more - techies seem to like them less though. I have speculated about the reasons for this in the past on this very website.
Re: Has there been a paradigm shift and nobody told me?
Yes. It happened quite a while ago. First via apps like Quicksilver and Gnome Do, then later in with search being built into Windows (best thing about Win7 imo) and then Unity and Gnome Shell. No idea what MacOS is up to having not used it for a few years, but I expect it has something similar. Search is the default interface for everything these days. Makes a lot of sense to me. Did you also not notice that mainstream companies advertise domains less and search terms more? "Search 'blah product' online" is much more common than "Type blah-dash-product-dot-co-dot-uk into your browser."
Can't remember the last time I navigated a menu then clicked on an icon to start a programme. "Win/Super Key --> type a few letters --> hit enter" is how apps and files, launch these days. Every app I've used to do this kind of thing has been intelligent enough to get what I want for quite some time, at least by the second attempt. And yes, I still know what all my apps are and where they live and same for files - but I no longer actually need to. If I need my Mum to launch print manager over the phone, I don't have to guess my way through a menu, I can just say "Press Windows, type 'Print man' and press enter"
Search works better for me. Other things work better for other people, but isn't it nice to have the choice?
a rare sight these days...
...is the correct use of 'decimate'
Well done that hack. Gold star.
Re: despite the existence of perfectly-good laws on "due care and attention" already
So after a minor run-in with a speed camera recently, I attended a "Speed Awareness Course" which was actually a few hours of defensive driving. During this they said that there is no law against using your phone while driving in the UK and never has been. As you said, it's already been covered by due care and reckless driving. The recent "ban" was just pointing out that it's already illegal.
If you're involved in an accident, your phone records are checked by the police to make sure you weren't on the phone near/at the time. There hasn't been a single case of a fatal or serious accident where the driver on their phone hasn't ended up in prison (presumably when they weren't the fatality). Which makes exactly no difference to the person they've killed or maimed, but hey.
Re: "Press harder"
The screen on my Sony is so sensitive that on more than one occasion a large particle of dust or falling feather from the duvet has triggered a dictionary lookup on the word it's landed on.
I can't speak for other devices, but on mine you definitely don't need to worry about whether you've pressed hard enough.
Re: Time for a bit of Nooky?
I'm not a Kindle fan (Sony PRS-T1 here) but it's got 1.3GB of storage onboard.
At 500KB per book (size of the Iain M Banks latest on my desktop), that's 2600+ books. If you read two books a week and never ever delete anything, you'll need memory expansion in 25 years. You need a PC to load up the SD card anyway, so why not just plug the Kindle in and miss out a step.
I'd probably still buy the Nook, but not because of the storage options.
Re: If you're collecting them...
You know that's satire, yes? As far I can tell there is no Ian M Hurt, at least not one running for congress in Oklahoma.
However, the fact I had to google around a bit to find this out and that is was vaguely believable in the first place is damning enough.
Re: "When you play with someone's desktop, you are interfering with the way they do work..."
It's not really about customisation per se - the point I was trying to make was that we (the nerds) make things our own by customisation, but at a deeper level it's about control. My computer is a tool which I bend to my will, not a device I have to figure out to get something else done. Because I'm engaged with my machine on a deeper level than someone who just* uses it for spreadsheets/word processing/email/etc - then when "my" OS is changed, it can be more upsetting. Me, I'm not bothered, but some people are.
I can see what you're getting at, but I think most nerds in professional positions can manage a little more objectivity than the forum dwellers bleating (again, comes around at least once a year) about how this is the end for Ubuntu. Me, I don't use Unity - but I do recommend it to people. My Mum loves it, for example. I can make decisions based on what other people need not what I personally prefer. Ubuntu doesn't alienate me by making itself more appealing to non-techies, it just makes itself a slightly different tool in my toolbox - considering this is a toolbox which is quite well stuffed with almost-identical Linux distros already, a little differentiation ain't a bad thing. I may choose not to run Ubuntu for myself, but that doesn't mean it's not something I'll choose for someone else.
* just to be clear, there's absolutely nothing wrong with this. These people are applying their brain in different places to me. I can't do their jobs any more than they can do mine.
Re: "When you play with someone's desktop, you are interfering with the way they do work..."
I've wondered this very thing. The interesting thing about it is that it's true for us nerds. We customise, we tweak, we make things our own. But most users don't do that. How many non-techie people do you know who even set a non-standard desktop image, let alone adjust colour schemes, icons, set up custom launchers or keyboard shortcuts, etc. etc.
So for them - a group who represent the overwhelming majority of computer users - this kind of thing is less of a big deal. Much less of a big deal. Canonical do lots of user testing, they don't just punt stuff out at random. They've tested this and it's gone down well. The small - albeit very vocal - minority of nerds who feel this is a personal assault on their computing privacy are going to install Arch/Fedora/Debian/Whatever. But frankly it was only a matter of time until those people ragequit anyway.
But I think there's a great deal of people who don't post their opinions about computing on web forums are just going to say "oh look, it searches Amazon now, that's handy/annoying" and will then use/ignore the feature as appropriate. Canonical may bank some cash, and if so good for them. They are a business, after all. Personally, I consider the "mainstreaming" of Ubuntu to be a very good thing - ease of use and features like built-in search are things people like and will bring more users to the OS - and when/if it reaches the point that I'm feeling constrained by it, I shall just go and install something else.
Re: So what?
Re: What, pray tell, is an RJ-45 cable?
RJ-45 is a cable specification, which defines both connector geometry and the connections thereto. The plug on the end of your network cable is designated 8P8C. When that connector is wired up with CATx grade wire using Ethernet pinouts, the whole assembly becomes an RJ-45 cable.
Mine's the one with the crimping tool in the pocket.
Here's his web page. http://kardasis.weebly.com/
That looks like a Celestron tube of some kind on a high-end SkyWatcher mount to me. Probably runs to a minimum of £3K worth of gear by the time you've got the extras, could be two or three times that without much trouble. Easy to spend a lot of money on astronomy kit, I'm discovering. I think you can still reasonably call his rig a 'hobby' scope though. Dedicated hobbiest, for sure, but not exactly crazy.
Certainly puts my wobbly, fuzzy and grainy pictures of Jupiter to shame.
Re: LLU win
Xilo are the single best company I deal with regularly. Not just the best ISP, the best company full stop. Their service and support is absolutely exemplary. They're not the cheapest but the extra couple of quid is worth every penny.
Not really. GiffGaff's unlimited is currently genuinely unlimited. If they restrict it, I'm sure they'll stop calling it unlimited. They are pretty good like that.
Personally I've seen better coverage and far better customer service* with GiffGaff than I ever did with Vodafone or Orange. My phone bill has dropped to the point that I'm already saving money on my outright handset purchase less than a year ago compared to the 'free' 18 or 24 month contract I could have got elsewhere. Other people's mileage will, of course vary. I do recommend GG to my friends and those who have signed up seem happy - and I can call/text them for free, which is even better.
* it's hard to have a call-centre phonetard mess up your seemingly simple request when there are no call centres. Same same for being on hold for hours being told every thirty seconds how important your call is.
40p a day, isn't it?
I'd happily pay that for 6Music alone. Anything else is just a bonus.
A friend of mine
Once got an email claiming to be from an Australian property lawyer investigating some land my friend had supposedly inherited (which he had no clue about). They wanted to sell it for him, taking a 5% cut.
Sounded dodgy as hell, but it was no cash up front - six months later he was holding a cheque for £27k.
He was very glad this was in the days before aggressive spam filtering.
this is why I like Google
OK, there's a discussion to be had about privacy with email, search results, tracking cookies and so on. Personally, I trust them enough. Definitely not entirely, certainly not without caveats and care - but enough that I can live with them.
But what I really like about Google is they're not afraid to try for the big stuff. Project Glass might be bobbins, it might be awesome, it might never even work at all - but it takes guts to take a punt on something like that. Imaging significant amounts of the planet from space down to street level is a staggering task to even contemplate, let alone actually do (albeit imperfectly, but it's still impressive). Now there's not-far-from-commercially available self-driving vehicles. ROBOT FRICKIN' CARS. Cars you can get into and say "take me home" and they ACTUALLY DO.
I have come, with time, to accept that the promised future of hoverboards and replicators is unlikely to occur, but I'll settle for a self-driving car and a wearable AR device. Probably with AdBlock+ installed, mind you.
Re: Crusty old wires
"All the cables from the pole to the cabinet and the cabinet to the exchange should be fairly modern anyway."
Depends on what you mean by fairly modern. When the BT engineer installed my new pole-to-house cable last year I remarked that "at least it's copper all the way from my front room to the DSLAM now" to which he replied that no, it wasn't. It's still aluminium from the pole to the cab and there on to the exchange. BT claim they don't have any Al cabling left, but according to this chap that's not strictly 100% true. Fortunately I'm only 300m from the exchange so it's not a big deal.
Me too. You're not EACOS, are you?
Re: I *need* an iPhone5
I'd suggest looking at Sony's Xperia range. The hardware is good quality, the design distinct, the camera tech is in a different league to anyone else and they even make a non-huge model for those of us who don't like carrying around huge slabs of glass.
I am eating a sweetcure Norfolk Black Bacon sandwich right now. Way too hungry to photograph it first.
I had one of these
The Pavilion G6, i5. Keyboard was so bendy it was basically unusable. The screen was shit and the fan was really noisy too. Took it back for a refund.
the thing about G+
Which I don't find on other social networks is that I meet people. FB is people I know already, and that's great, it's nice to keep in touch with them. Twitter seems to mostly be people I know retweeting stuff by people I don't (and don't want to).
G+ does really well at helping me to meet new people who share my interests - and lets me filter them on that interest - eg: I know a lot of cooking people on G+, but I only see their posts when I want to browse my 'foodies' circle. Same same for photography and the rest. Sometimes people start in a specialist circle and move into my general friends circles, sometimes not. Either way I've made more new friends on G+ in the last year than I ever have on FB/Twitter. Obviously other people's milage will vary.
Re: It sure is.
Microsoft have http://so.cl
I went along for the beta, and was totally baffled by it. They're trying some weird search engine/social network hybrid. Just bizarre.
Re: AT Powerswitches
Not that one, but I've fried my fair share of boards by plugging the power connector in the wrong way around.
Polarised connectors? Kids of today don't know they're born.
Ah, the old "PC of Theseus". Rule I use is "new CPU = new computer", at least when it comes to naming the thing.
New disks, gfx, other cards - not new computer. I rarely upgrade so often that swapping a CPU out doesnt involve a new m/b and ram as sockets/architectures and so on have generally changed since my last upgrade.
I'd love one of those. But just as I could afford one, a certain fruity company bought Fingerworks and pulled all their products.
Perhaps I should sue Apple for causing my rsi.
my friend's four-year-old
Doesn't understand broadcast TV. For him, TV is where his programmes are. He watches exactly what he wants, exactly when he's allowed to. Sometimes he's at houses where TVOD isn't available and he genuinely doesn't get why he can't watch Octonauts or Chuggington. Making you wait until something is "on" is not what a TV does in his world.
I had an HP Pavilion G6 recently. Possibly even the model reviewed here. Took it back because the keyboard was so stupidly bendy it was essentially unusable.
I also had a low-end Samsung for a while (went back for different reasons) which had an absolutely superb keyboard. Nice and stiff base, lovely key response, a joy to use.
Re: For years I've put up with crap service
Protip: shop at John Lewis.
Their customer service is peerless. Their technical knowledge too. Plus they stock more than one brand of electronics and won't push you towards the most expensive. I went in all ready to buy an ultrabook/MacAir because I wanted the screen size, but the chap steered me to a non-ultra 13.3" Toshiba which was half the price.
"If iOS is such a clone of Windows Mobile why did Microsoft throw it all away and start again?"
Comment on Ars Technica the other day - "Why would anyone want to copy iOS, it's years behind"
Sometimes chucking it all out and starting again is a good idea, especially when the underlying technology has changed so much. Current WinMo, much as I'm about as far from an MS fanboi as you can get, represents some impressive innovation in UI design. iOS, meh - not so much. And that's fine - mainstream users don't want cutting edge design, they need their hands held and that's perfectly OK. Smartphone users are not all geeky types who want the newest everything all the time, or are prepared to learn something different just to use a phone. Which is exactly why iOS is popular. Because it's simple, familiar, safe and easy. I can hand it to my Mum and she's fine with it. Me, I prefer something more modern - because I'm prepared to put in the effort to get the rewards. Neither is more right, it's different things for different people.
Oh, and you're wrong about it being the first touch-only UI. Symbian UiQ and s60 were perfectly happy just getting a finger. Seem to remember a few other devices were too, back in the day. iPaq, anyone?
Multi-touch and finger gestures were around in Fingerworks devices for years. Back in the day I had just saved up enough for one of their awesome Touchstream LP keyboards when Apple bought the company and discontinued all their products. Sure they weren't phones, but the technical innovation of multitouch hardware wasn't Apple's work. They just bought someone else's patents.
I had a touchscreen phone in 2006 and it was perfectly usable. Sony Ericsson P900, iirc. No stylus needed (although one was supplied), no buttons, no start menu. The handwriting recognition was so good I could even send email with one hand, with the phone in my pocket. Yes, it wasn't as slick as modern devices, but it was certainly good enough.
Because it's Android so, iirc, you have to have some buttons.
Also it's quite handy to have page-turning buttons if your fingers are less than sparkling clean, and shunting home/back controls off the screen means more screen space for words.
another vote for Calibre here
I ran the awful Sony software once to get the Adobe DRM thingy authorised so I could use the library service, then never booted it again.
Calibre Just Works. But I don't do collections or any of that sort of thing. I have four or five books on there at any one time and I delete them once I've read them. All my library management - such as it is - is done on my PC.
But I do love my PRS-T1. Well worth the few extra quid over a Kindle, imo.
I can see only one solution.
Lock-in at the rec centre. I mean, *come on*
Re: Electric Cars bad...
"I do not think that it is a good idea to hand total control of the production and distribution of auto fuel (or any other type) to a single central authority like government or giant corporate."
News just in - probably too late to be worrying about that. Saudi Aramco are the world's largest company, they control a significant amount of the oil market. They are the giantest of the giant corporates. Personally I'd rather be in thrall to the French or Norwegians for electricity than to the House of Saud for oil.
Re: How many shades of grey?
16. Almost certainly an eInk Pearl screen. Easily as white as a cheap paperback (although more grey than cheap paper's yellow/brown shade).
IRex managed to get more shades out of eInk with a cunning pixel manipulating system - my Iliad did 16 shades on a screen which supposedly was only capable of 8 - but I expect that secret died with them.
Why do you need more range? Most of the books I read don't have pictures, and 16 greys is enough to anti-alias text to an acceptable level, especially at the resolution eInk works at..
I would too. I want to pay taxes to make the country better for everyone and not just me. I'm more than happy to support those less fortunate than me through the state (I wish the state was better organised, but that's not quite the issue).
For me, that's what a civilised, humane person does as part of a modern, progressive society. I appreciate other people have different points of view, and I'm not saying they're wrong, this is just my opinion.
Re: Sample size?
Re: From reading here
I generally have no more than three or four books on my reader at any one time. Unlike my girlfriend who often has several books on the go at once, 99% of the time I'm only reading one at a time. I'll often drop sets to read through on there - like doing all of Mieville's Bas Lag books back to back last month. I delete books from the reader when I'm done (or return them if they're library books). My library lives on my computer where it can be neatly organised in directories and/or via calibre, and backed up and so on.
Sony Reader is better
Same size, slightly lighter (although you can't tell), reads more formats, same screen (same as every other reader on the market), little more expensive, I think it looks nicer but that's a matter of opinion.
Why is it better?
Works with UK library services. Just last night I finished reading a book, in bed, few taps later - borrowed another and started reading that.
actually the Sony Reader does let you do that.
virtually, of course. but tapping the top of a page creates a 'fold' which you can easily page back to later on.
pretty neat feature.
or it didn't happen.
Me too, I grew up in Congleton, with Jodrell Bank on the horizon, looking awesome. I suspect it's presence - and plenty of visits to the place - was at least part of the reason I've always been interested in astronomy.
Also I once gave Sir Bernard a Tunnocks Teacake while he was weeding his garden. He seemed pleased. True story.
Re: Pffft - they're not REAL books.
Rare that I'll resort to either linking to Twitter or Stephen Fry, but he makes a good point here:
"One technology doesn't replace another, it complements. Books are no more threatened by Kindle than stairs by elevators."
Re: Pffft - they're not REAL books.
My ereader lives inside a lovely hardback, leather-bound jacket. It looks like a book, smells and feels like a book too. It's a book. It's also a library, dictionary and (if you really want it to be) a web browser and mp3 player.
Re: Haven't seen the footage yet...
If all the gear worked, there is video of the descent. It just hasn't been transmitted back to Earth yet.
Re: Technical question, why does FPS > 60 matter?
It's not really that having 300+ FPS is better for the user than 270FPS, it's more to show that the same hardware is performing "better" with the different software. This test was done on a Valve test rig with an old game - you'd expect to see very high framerates in that situation. In this context it's a bit like how someone might claim their sportscar does 270mph and this other "better" one does 315mph. Nobody is going to actually drive at those speeds, but it's a performance metric you can use to compare two things. How meaningful pure FPS comparisons are another question entirely - much like top speed comparisons for cars.
Also what the guy above said.
Re: I'd pay
"the very fact they someone is using Linux imples they are not likely to spend a significant amount of money on software"
Speaking for me, and just for me, that's not why I use Linux. I use it because - for the things I need my computer to do - it's better than Windows. It's more stable, more secure, gives me more control and the tools available do the job just as well or better. That it's free (from cost) is a bonus, but it's not a factor in my decision to use it.
I spend money buying games for my PS3, and I'd happily spend money buying games for my PC if Steam ports successfully. I have been known to buy the odd HumbleBundle for linux.
People who just want to avoid spending money can easily pirate whatever software they fancy, from Windows to Office to Photoshop to games or whatever.
- Leaked screenshots show next Windows kernel to be a perfect 10
- Product round-up Coming clean: Ten cordless vacuum cleaners
- Something for the Weekend, Sir? I need a password to BRAKE? What? No! STOP! Aaaargh!
- Episode 13 BOFH: WHERE did this 'fax-enabled' printer UPGRADE come from?
- Vulture at the Wheel Ford's B-Max: Fiesta-based runaround that goes THUNK