1348 posts • joined 19 Jun 2009
@AceRimmer - how do you use non-existent code?
"The third party start menu applications work by activating hidden/deactivated features of the the Windows GUI."
Please tell us how they invoke Start Menu code that Microsoft deleted from Win8 a week before RTM? It's simply not there to be used. They also tried deleting some of the OS hooks replacements use but that just wasted days of dev time working around the sabotage.
Why did they remove it so completely? Because people kept turning it back on all the way through the Win8 test period! A sane company would see that and conclude disabling it was a mistake. MS physically excised the option and it's rumoured Sinofsky ordered engineers to delete the history from revision control so it can't be brought back - insanity.
Microsoft are trying to use their desktop monopoly control to promote other products but when did it start making sense to piss off users trapped by the monopoly? Degrading my desktop will not endear me to WP8 or any incarnation of Metro on other devices.
"can they actually put the start button back without the third-party start button/menu vendors crying foul"
Does this half-arsed mockery *block* 3rd party replacements... call me cynical but I won't be even slightly surprised if this hijacks that bit of screen and deliberately breaks 3rd party replacements, at least till they hack around it.
So MS partially correct the misuse of invisible UI elements but it's just window dressing, not real change and certainly not what users are screaming for. How not surprised do I look?
the stunning power of Fairsearch searches
Took seconds to find the Youtube v3 API, in nice plain text. A little longer to read the licence terms. Another few secs to find the apparently automatic 'click this button, agree to this licence, we give you a client ID' sign up process.
I'm forced to conclude Microsoft used Bing for the search (or maybe their partner, Foundems woeful effort) and couldn't find it. Yet somehow Bing found enough info to hack together an app capable of violating the terms of service the Youtube API is only available under? MS just don't know when to stop fabricating stories...
Re: Xbox One
That RAM latency has little effect on most functional units, either because they feed on streams (GPU) or have internal caches (CPU). That latency issue has been getting data from core to core and historically getting it into the right chunk of RAM. Unified RAM removes half the problem while fast core<->RAM streaming simplifies everything.
PS4 has an advantage here because it's simpler with no accelerated transfer systems to deal with. It's going to have less bottlenecks and more predictable behaviour. And it really doesn't hurt that not pissing away transistors on ESRAM let them build in more cores!
Given that both systems seem to have broadly comparable basic hardware, I'll expect better gaming performance on the one with more cores. The PS4 looks like it will outperform even high end PCs for most of it's life, not convinced the Xbone will.
Re: "only links to other search engines"
I may be imagining it but the Fairsearch Jihad against Google seems remarkably coincident to Google making progress against the tidal wave of SEO, link farms and those fscking annoying recursive mazes of search engines pointing at search engines.
I'm 110% convinced Google has materially damaged the business of countless people. But it's a good thing, in the same way the police materially damage the business of criminals.
I wouldn't go so far. After XP->Win8 I'd describe it's stability as 'different', not better, not lower, just falls over on different things... although right now it's still showing lower uptimes than XP SP3 AND I deliberately detuned the hardware a while back to rule out hardware problems, with no improvement.
Re: How can that be?
Remember: the shiny new Start Screen is an app... ;)
Re: "TIFKAM is perfectly usable, it just isn't the interface people are used to."
Metro is a UI designed down to the least common denominator, one designed for what a small screen touch only device is capable of (and I'd argue crap like magic corners is inherently bad design even there).
Not just different, it's an impoverished UI, hamstrung by it's assumptions:
1: that it has to look the same everywhere (a pure marketing requirement with no real reason to exist), where 'everywhere' leaks strongly into desktop mode (so even functional window chrome had to go)
2: that it has to behave identically everywhere, regardless of the quality or precision of your input devices
3: that fullscreen is always the 'right thing', whatever the hardware, whatever restrictions it causes
There's a more subtle assumption: that desktop=legacy mode. Legacy modes inevitably become 2nd class, with degraded support and allowed to rot before being dropped completely - at least in the minds of the managers and developers maintaining them... and Win8 desktop mode is showing signs of neglect, from the hastily crippled chrome and theming options to the astonishing bugginess of File Explorer to the almost random organisation of settings and on and on.
The real issue here remains the same, if I'm using an 'interface people (aren't) used to' there's no reason it should be a Microsoft interface. If users are increasingly using reduced function devices instead of PCs, Microsoft are screwed because traditional Windows doesn't work there.
Everything in Win8 has to train users to use the impoverished Metro UI that does work on new devices. Metro can't be allowed to work better on a PC than a tablet and desktop has to be subtly (and not so subtly) degraded to make Metro more attractive. It's cynical, desperate and failing.
Michael Strorm:"the problem with the Amiga is that Commodore sat on their laurels"
The Amiga line was hamstrung by management that couldn't decide what they wanted it to be. Designed as the super console of its time, management stripped the chip RAM that delivers most of its performance, shrank the base RAM too far and gave out mixed messages about whether it was a gaming or office machine for its entire lifetime.
When I wrote for it, the OS used enough RAM to make life difficult porting from the Atari ST (so many of us just dumped it in the game boot loader) and multitasking was a fun demo but not much use in real office work.
Windows and the IBM PC proves you can survive bad products with the right management, the Amiga was mismanaged to death.
the rt firesale kicked off yesterday
Meanwhile both Dell and Microsoft UK are heavily discounting rt devices to shift them.
What could possibly go wrong?
Re: @Tom 13
" In short it's a win for everybody but the users."
Put more bluntly: 500mil users need to suffer so 1000 Microsoft engineers can be lazy.
Except the localisation work is incremental and mostly already done in any Windows iteration. It's happening now because marketing demands that all products in their plan be reduced to the lowest common factors, otherwise the Win8 everywhere message doesn't work. Somehow they overlooked that the resulting products don't work either.
Re: Critique of Pure Animal Behavior - by MigMig-Johnson Kant
Stopped reading when he got to playing porn. As any fule kno, stock Win8 doesn't contain the pornographers favourite codecs.
Re: Can't wait!
...but is that because it's better protected or just not worth pirating?
why pirate win8 if you can have 7 ;)
Re: ability to discern pictures more quickly than words
ThomH: "once you can rely on people's ability to discern pictures more quickly than words"
That's the mistaken thinking that got Microsoft so deep into trouble. I distinguish text faster and more accurately than icons, always have done and I don't see much chance that will change. Especially now the UI world is on a rampage to eliminate skeumorphism, in favour of increasingly cryptic symbols. Additionally I only have to learn the layout of a text UI compared to learning the symbols AND their layout.
In case you haven't guessed that's a large part of why I find the new Start Screen unusable, though the sheer bloated space wasting, extra mouse use nature of is a bigger problem. It's also a huge part of why I use the classic text based start Menu instead of trying to spot the right icon in a sea of them, a sea that Windows loves to rearrange before I can learn it.
I'm near the extreme spectrum on this but I'm not alone and it would be nice if Microsoft remembered we're all different and stopped trying to reduce our options.
don't need a Microsoft account
Someone tell me I'll be able to grab 8.1 without going through the Win8 store. Didn't sign up for an account, don't intend to.
And will I get an installer/updater I can burn to DVD and stash in my firesafe, for the inevitable day I need to repair some major failure. Already have to rebuild the BCD db every time Win8 tries to change its boot options, from the install DVD because of course Win8 won't boot!
Of course this all supposes I want to install this update. Have to wait and see what they screw up this time. Maybe I was right and this is the version of Windows with the shortest support period ever. Launch to EOL in 8 months ;)
Re: Desktop 'dumped'?
Dumped no, degraded yes.
By removing too much chrome making the UI visually hard to navigate, installing a 3rd party theming hack didn't help my system stability but noticeably improved my performance and reduced the headaches.
By removing the native launcher in favour of the significantly less capable Metro launcher.
By creating doubt that desktop mode would be fully supported, that it would be left to bitrot.
By shipping standard apps like File Explorer riddled with bugs, many of them dating back to XP, others brand new.
By letting it be known new technologies would not be added to desktop mode.
MS didn't dare remove it yet but they tried desperately hard to make desktop mode unappealing and to give the impression it has no future to drive users towards Metro.
Re: “advance the bold vision”
There's no interpretation of “advance the bold vision” in English that means restoring excised code and the associated features. I conclude 8.1 is mostly about forcing the new stuff on us more effectively. Since I don't believe MS are past the denial stage yet I don't believe they're ready to actually fix the problems and 8.1 will just try to make them look less like mistakes.
The cynic in me suspects any restoration of dropped desktop features has more to do with blocking 3rd party work rounds than restoring the excised features. I wont be surprised if the rumoured return of the Start Button overrides replacements, dragging users kicking and screaming to the unwieldy Start Screen we're trying to avoid.
Re: @Danny 5 - "how is someone NOT using windows 8 a valid source"
Win8 fanbois started pushing this line long before Win8 launched. There's not a single thread anywhere about Win8 where complaints aren't casually dismissed 'because you haven't used it enough/at all'. Even now, 6 months after launch it's only slowed down, there's still always a trickle of denial.
Here's a clue: after using it since the launch day my opinion has changed very little and is *more negative*
Everything I expected to dislike before using it, I do indeed dislike, only tolerable because most of the worst offences can be avoided or patched around.
Summed, the performance and feature improvements are roughly balanced by the things they broke in the desktop mode. Some breakage sucking away most of the speed improvement.
My USB devices work better (or more accurately don't bring Win8 to a grinding halt like under XP) but less of my hardware works at all. Win8 driver support is fscking appalling, with a download service stocked with obsolete and/or broken drivers.
As time passes I continue to find more bugs and annoyances, Win8 suffers the usual gradual Windows slowdown and my opinion continues to slowly worsen. If I didn't want more than 4Gb RAM and plugging my phone in didn't crash XP, I'd switch back. (Being able to use more than 4Gb RAM means the one compelling Win8 feature of better use of RAM doesn't matter!)
re:"who's even heard of foundem?"
...enough to trigger the Streisand Effect ;)
3 times more popular than Kin!
I really, really want to hear some Microsoft spin on that ;)
Re: @Ken Hagan
Ken, I've rarely found an available machine with 'person-sized interface' available in hard core hacker venues like pubs, public transport or outdoor. To be fair the urge to do some misguided command line hackery while sitting with a pint is best resisted, rarely needed however badly botched up the phone is.
But it's better to have but not use than need but not have ;)
Re: Where is Eadon when you need him?
As far as I can see Microsoft have said absolutely nothing about reverting anything meaningful at all. Its one interpretation they've let the press run riot with but vague hints about responding to feedback could easily cover new ways to change the ui.
Till it launches we won't know how cosmetic fixes are, how misguided this batch are, how much more education users can have forced on them.
The only one I feel confident will be there is a Start Button. Leading straight to the Metro Start screen not anything useful.
Still seen no explanation of how pubs will continue to show matches after BT take over. Even if BT have a licence programme in place I can't see any paying yet another hefty fee on top of Sky or installing more equipment.
This deal looks like it kills some of the traditional 'day in the pub' watching sports. Yet they aren't going to charge anyone that stays at home to watch? Do they really believe locking away some minor matches on their service will get people buying BT Vision at home? It didn't work when ESPN and Sky was available on every imaginable delivery channel - Freeview, Satellite, Broadband & mobiles, not likely to work now.
Re: HOW DARE YOU!
"It was also easy to copy the tapes with my Dad's Amstrad tape-to-tape deck, not so the C64 tapes with their crappy turbo loaders"
Any difficulty in copying was completely intentional ;)
I think the reason it worked better at making copies fail on C64 is better hardware. A suitable hardware timer and nothing stealing CPU cycles meant we could use much tighter timing. I remember setting turbo speeds based on its effect on copying as much as the speed improvement. It's a miracle anything every loaded!
Re: @Asok Asus
I think you're missing the big issue: with horizontal screens comfortably within reach, where would I put my coffee?
Come to think of it, where would the keyboard go? Or would I be swapping a cheap physical keyboard for wasting expensive screen estate on an inferior touch version...
Are you suggesting the addition of multitouch magically makes holding arms out easier to endure?
re:"Windows 8 boots up and is usable an order of magnitude faster than XP"
On my dual boot, Win8 v XP: boots to desktop in 45s v 60s. Then takes another minute or so before either actually responds to input. So a tiny (zero orders of magnitude) speed up and the same 'pretend to be ready' trickery we've got used to.
Of course you may have set XP up really badly or let it decay. Most people do ;)
telemetry - just stats and stats are what you lie with
The telemetry is arguably just a smokescreen they used to justify an existing plan. If they noticed the problems interpreting the data Sinovsky would have ignored the problems and ploughed on, because Win8 is about owning new markets, not making Windows better.
My stats would show that 90% of launches are double clicked documents in File Explorer. Should the entire UI just become a File Explorer... of course not. The next 7-9% are pinned apps on the start bar or desktop. Microsofts claim is the remaining 1-3% of launches from my Start Menu are insignificant. But in reality they're launching from my Menu because I might only run an app once a month (or even once a year), these are the 100+ tools so infrequently used pinning makes no sense, that would overflow any flat organisation on limited screen space - especially if every link is a tile. These are the tools that fit perfectly in a hierarchical menu tree like the Start Menu.
Apparently my substantial use of drag'n'drop is also wrong, bypassing Windows awful file selection dialogs. But full screen apps in the shiny Metro world makes it unusable so clearly I'm doing something wrong. Just can't quite work out why taking advantage of multiple large screens to improve my workflow is wrong...
MS choose to pretend that infrequent use means a feature has no value. They're completely wrong. But removing desktop features isn't about usability, it's about bludgeoning their way onto phones and tablets through monopoly abuse, not value to end users.
The Win8 internals are an improvement on XP in some respects, they finally got network and USB performance good, equalling where the house Linux PC and NAS servers have been for years. It uses RAM a lot better.
In other respects all that's changed is what triggers mysterious slowdowns and outright stalls and the File Explorer is more broken than ever. My install is riddled with compatibility problems, with apps, drivers and codecs, if they added a big 'run EVERYTHING in XP compatible mode' it would save me a lot of time. HyperV is broken on my AMD board, it looks like it works but subtly breaks BDA support.
After all these months tweaking problems Win8 is *near* the uptimes I had with XP. That's not something Microsoft should be proud of.
Re: oh dear AC, you forgot MS instrumentation...
The fact they've waited so damn long to pretend to offer concessions (Start *button* not the *menu* we actually want for example), all the while denying there's a problem, all go to demonstrate they weren't listening to 'shouty people' when it was hatched, weren't listening to them after it launched and aren't pandering to them now.
The underlying reality is: MS justified vandalising the XP then Win7 UIs based on instrumenting Windows installs and logging user usage patterns. If change is coming it will be driven by the same sort of feedback. Given the overarching 'by hook or by crook, Win8 everywhere' corporate plan, there must be a serious difference between actual usage and what was expected/planned to trigger any backpeddling.
Can't help MS that the 'shouty people' are so pissed off this time many deliberately opted in to the usage feedback to make sure the weasels at MS can't hide behind the same excuses. The majority of users may well be using a tiny fraction of the UI or OS and careless about what their PC reports back to MS, that's still not an excuse to take it away from those that use more.
Re: @Homer 1
Though I hate to give the impression I'm defending them, the phrase that kicked off the shitstorm was 'always on', not 'online only'. The 2nd is a sensible extrapolation based on current industry practices that Microsoft chose not to deny.
My personal belief is Microsoft gave no serious consideration to whether misuse of online as DRM was an issue for customers and had no policy either way. It is however a serious issue for shitty developers Microsoft cannot ignore, like EA, so it will be allowed.
The social network features of Durango (video sharing, in game messaging etc.) clearly do require a permanent connection *for them to work*. Microsoft leak still doesn't clarify completely whether that will be used as camouflage for DRM or whether we can disable that and still play games.
The problem is *oxidisation* of lipids to form trans-2-nonelal, not bacterial action. You stop it by removing oxygen and live yeast does a good job of sucking it up in live beers - draught or bottled. The last thing commercial factory lager producers want is anything live in their 'product' and the near total absence of flavour makes faults easy to taste.
Hops are used less for preservation than flavour nowadays. However they react badly to UV light, officially the flavour is 'skunk', I normally describe it as cat's piss. Which probably helps explain why beers often drunk outdoors in a sunny country are notoriously devoid of hops ;)
I already have a cellar full of very long life beers
I can see how this would help flavourless piss, by keeping it flavourless.
The real secret of long life beer has been known for a long time, give it lots of flavour, more alcohol=longer life and keep it out of the light. Light kills beer, destroying the hop oils first - though hardly an issue in the mostly hop free watery piss sold as lager outside Germany ;)
Most of the Belgian beers in my cellar need 3month to a year maturation to develop their flavour. The 25yr old Thomas Hardy Ales aren't ready to drink yet, we tried at the recommended 21 years and they're still too sweet. Then again, the 42yr old bottle we shared was also too sweet for my liking!
I hate to think what will happen if brewers of existing, more flavoured, long keeping beers jump on this, knocking out a bit of the maturation process along the way.
The problem is Microsoft bet the future on RT. More accurately they bet on the wall garden RT brings and perceived user lockin that creates.
Pro doesn't really help that. Yes having an RT mode is part of the crazy cross promotional, Win8 everywhere plan but 'full fat' Windows doesn't really help the walled garden part. It's hard to see Pros actual appeal extending much beyond use of desktop mode.
skeuomorphic has 1 big advantage
More abstracted graphical elements are potentially much easier to get trademark or design patent protection for. Skeuomorphic designs by definition have obvious precedent from real life.
If the company that design patented 'rounded corners' abstracts it's UI design its a near certainty they will do the same to every possible individual element of iOS7.
Just what the world needs, balkanised UIs all the way down to individual icons, graphical flourishes and basic control elements. I already struggle to remember WTF each Google icon means, having icons with shared meaning across all OS and GUI combinations would be a bloody good idea. Even better if it was an obvious meaning to most of us... a bit like skeuomorphic!
Re: "One million shipped..."
Innovation is driven by *effective* competition, the stronger the better.
I see Google innovating Android under Apple pressure.
Apple innovating legal theory under pressure from Android.
I cant see anything suggesting WP or BB are creating any competitive pressure or driving innovation outside their own products... and for one of them that innovation seems headed in the wrong direction!
In reality Google have consistently demonstrated that they buy very good legal advice before doing anything, set corporate policy and external contract terms from it, then walk right on the edge of what's legal based on it.
They've also been remarkably good at getting light punishments when employees overstep policy (the WiFi slurp) or contractors ignore their contracts (Java v Android). Probably because the legal system and regulators seem to believe those many mistakes are just that, not malicious.
Who do you want to believe: poorly informed chatter from outsiders, impotent politicians and Fairsearch sponsored lies OR the professionals that actually investigate each incident? Google aren't good guys but they aren't evil either, just doing what they can legally get away with for their own good first but with less of the corrupt shit we've come to expect from the Microsoft,Apple&Oracles of the world.
Re: buying in innovation ain't as cheap as it was
Here we have another effect of excess polish fumes on thinking ability.
Many of today's smartphones are indeed rapidly converging on the artists mockup I remember of what pocket PC's would look like, a mockup printed in a PC magazine back in the 1990's. They haven't yet dispensed with the bezel around the display or gone for a solid glass body but the grid of icons, the touchscreen control, the ability to make phone calls (yes, that was predicted), they've achieved all that. At the time the only slightly surprising prediction was putting a voicephone in the device, everything else looked pretty obvious.
And of course polish fumes wipe out memory, of things like the LG Prada, so like the iPhone Apple were accused of copying it. A phone shown publicly *before* any iPhone details were revealed.
Apple are so very good a polishing they've completely polished away history for so many of you. Those of us that lived through the entire Apple era remember a lot...
buying in innovation ain't as cheap as it was
In the good old days innovators were falling over themselves trying to demonstrate their new shiny to Apple or Microsoft. Nowadays they're putting a lot more effort into trying to get paid if the shiny gets used, before showing anything to the circling sharks. And there are more sharks in the hunt.
That's got to increase the R&D spend a lot ;)
Apple: polishing other peoples innovating for decades.
Re: Lag?? @ Paul Shirly
"should manage it (rotation) itself", while I appreciate having 180&270deg rotation without relying on devs explicitly supporting it. I think we can assume at least some would manage to display upside down if they tried ;)
Non-standard rotations few have available but so very useful if your OEM foolishly put the notification LED in the power button on the phones top edge, carefully hidden from sight!
I've had a few ROMs installed that exposed the delay in settings but it's only part of the problem, usually a very minor part.
The major issue is by default Android handles rotation of apps by restarting them and that can be very expensive, especially for container apps like the launcher. Since the rotation animation doesn't start till the app finishes reinitialising you see a lot of lag if the app takes a long time, even though actual rotation detection isn't laggy! On the same device simple apps switch quickly.
It's possible to work around this and internally deal with rotation but few apps bother. Not sure a launcher could do it while supporting widgets anyway and most simply disable landscape mode to avoid the issue.
It's probably the 'right thing' to do by default, completely reinitialising is more reliable and automagic but with an unfortunate effect on lag.
Re: Galaxy SII was superb! But I covet a pure Linux phone Stack!
Real geeks will be dual booting.
Real Alpha geeks will be triple booting Android,Ubuntu and Mozilla.
Insane geeks will throw in another version of Android and quad boot, for those moments you just need a faster running game.
Eadon will remain a beginner, aspiring to geekness but lacking any clue how to achieve it.
Re: "if somebody managed to port something like Go Launcher"
And right there is one strength of Android, if you don't like something about Android or it's UI, there's a good chance ordinary users can install a replacement and change it. Very few phones run stock Android, whether it's a carrier mangled, OEM skinned (which many users like) or user hacked version.
Want to do that on WP,iOS or BB? Not an option. In the Android ecosystem users have direct influence on how Android evolves while others get to take what's given them and try to like it.
Over the years my Android phones have looked/behaved like iOS, WP7, HTC Sense, whatever Sony call their Xperia skin... and half a dozen 3rd party home replacements including truly different 3D launchers. Rarely lasts long before choosing something closer to stock Android.
I've drawn the line firmly at trying Facebook Home though and didn't like Go Launcher at all ;)
Re:"MS stock price went up significantly after they posted their results last week."
...and then promptly sank back the next day. Probably when the herd of speculators noticed profits had actually fallen substantially after accounting for deferred revenue.
I'm actually surprised they didn't drop further. Some of that deferred revenue was Win7 sales MS wanted to book as Win8, use of the $14.99 upgrade voucher magically converting the sale into a full price Win8 sale with bragging rights attached. The silence from MS tells me that didn't work, that MS couldn't even fake Win8 sales.
Investors apparently haven't noticed that yet, more accurately most haven't. But the more volatile the stock gets the more gamblers will flock to exploit it and todays news could easily signal the start of the stampede.
Microsoft become a plaything for gamblers
When investors can have this effect on share price your company is in a little trouble. When a single investor, however large manages it, that's a lot of trouble.
When that investor is from a sector more interested in share price than the actual business, with a clear way to profit from stock manipulation... you're well on the way to losing control of the company and its future.
...still, with the direction Ballmers lackeys have take Windows recently, losing control might be the best thing for everyone apart from the chair thrower ;)
Re: It's not a tax ...
I fear you complete misunderstand what's really going on here. There are very, very few actual holes in the laws they passed because most of the holes were intentional.
What's stirred them into mock outrage is multiple realisations:
Half the MP scum realising that their friends and financial supporters aren't the only ones benefiting (as intended). They aren't in control of the handouts any longer.
That they've botched the whole bent enterprise so badly it's now possible to completely avoid contributing any value back to the country even as a side effect - and that removes the fiction they justified much of the plan with.
That the public have started asking awkward questions that won't stop at preventing excessive avoidance, killing quite a few retirement directorships for the crooks in parliament if their 'friends' actually end up paying tax.
The system is working almost as planned, they just expected not to get caught. ES has done us a big favour, by being so open and outspoken the politicians are forced to respond and not just with the usual bullshit. They need to decide whether the things they said to justify enticing internationals to the UK with tax reductions are bullshit or real, but neither position is compatible with the squealing complaints now emitting from parliament.
They might not be as good but they can do the job 'well enough' for many, especially if the cabling is good. Hell of a lot cheaper than hiring an installer to fit a masthead system unless you're already replacing the aerial. A lot quicker as well, quick trip into Argos and seconds to plug in for instant gratification.
There must be millions of them from the years of reduced power digital transmission though arguably just disconnecting them will solve the problem. I suspect the owners will find it more appealing adding a filter than removing a redundant booster though!
There are also distribution amps, sometimes it does make sense keeping them close to the receivers, cuts down the downleads needed. I have a 4 way one feeding my HTPC, could probably just get away with going passive since the least sensitive tuner died.
Masthead amps tend to use f plugs, the shitty diy ones plugged in at the tv end usually don't. There's a lot of capacity for mismatch here.
Re: Switching off the washing machine?
"How would switching off a washing machine save electricity?"
Saving electricity is not the point, saving the fuel used to generate it (supposedly) is. Reducing demand peaks allows less excess capacity to be on standby wasting energy. Standby generators that may be less fuel efficient than base load stations.
In reality it allows less *expensive* standby capacity to be used and ultimately less to be even built. Energy suppliers are so keen because they can save a lot of money on capital expenses and a bit more on running costs. They still come out ahead even if somehow (despite their best planning) they end up selling less electricity.
Re: real savings?
In one of my short excursions into 'normal work', the entire company could tell when the CEO was visiting from the US - the thermostat jumped up to US levels and everyone else started sweating in the heat wave.
Combined with the low use of AC any saving from thermostat manipulation is unlikely to be very effective here in the UK compared to the US. Wonder how much else of the 'savings' are artificially inflated by measuring in the US?
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