* Posts by fung0

184 posts • joined 29 May 2012

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Free Windows 10 upgrade: Time is running out – should you do it?

fung0

Re: am i the only one resisting this

"The Win10 forceware..."

Forceware. Absolutely brilliant term. Adding to my spellchecker immediately.

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fung0

Re: am i the only one resisting this

AegisPrime: "Apart from DX12 there's no compelling reasons to switch from 8 to 10..."

No matter how often this is repeated, it remains a completely fallacious talking point. After almost a year in full release, DirectX 12 is still seeing negligible support from game developers, large or small. Performance gains are debatable (greater on AMD, apparently), and certainly not as great as you'd see by simply installing a newer graphics card.

Meanwhile, Vulkan has become a serious alternative. It offers pretty much the same benefits as DX12, but without the increasingly painful vendor lock-in of DX, and with the ability to reach a vastly larger number of devices.

We can debate the theoretical merits of DirectX 12 technology, but to cite DX12 as a compelling reason for installing Windows 10 is simply to highlight how utterly unnecessary Windows 10 really is.

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Microsoft ordered to fix 'excessively intrusive, insecure' Windows 10

fung0

Re: I've said it before

soulrideruk: " I have no problem installing Mint, nor any problems using any of the applications that come with Mint. The problems are only with packages I have downloaded and installed, you know, things like Steam among others.

Mint 17.1 (I think it was) installed nicely on my ChromeBook (after I applied the requisite BIOS hack to boot directly into the OS of my choice). But I had to update various system components - including the kernel - in order to get all the devices to work. This process was well-documented on the Net, and went quite smoothly. Now the touchpad works, the touch-screen works, everything works. It's a great little laptop.

I recently tried to do the same on a second, identical, ChromeBook. Mint 17.3 installed perfectly, but couldn't see the Wi-Fi properly. Nothing I could do would fix the problem. After wasting many hours, I finally gave up. But when Mint 18 came out a couple of weeks later, I tried that. It installed quickly and flawlessly, with no extra configuration required. Everything just worked first time. On top of that, Mint 18 boots faster than any other Windows or Android device I own, even on the under-powered Celeron system. I've installed various applications from the Software Manager, including Steam. Given the limits of the hardware, undemanding games feel right at home.

My point being, Linux is a work in progress - and the progress is very real. Unlike the 'progress' we're seeing in Windows, where it's one step forward, two steps back. (Or sideways.) Windows has never been able to install perfectly on every piece of hardware, every time. I've even seen Windows laptops come right from the store in a non-functional state. Overall, I'd say Mint is already easier to deal with than Windows 7, and vastly more tractable than Windows 10 - the first OS that's literally been engineered to get in the user's way.

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Star Trek Beyond: An unwatchable steaming pile of tribble dung

fung0

"...That's because the script originally had nothing to do with Asimov or his stories..."

I'm not aware of this background, but I'll take your word for it. However, the story as filmed does hinge rather neatly on Asimov's three laws, so I felt it was a worthy homage to the author. The film's key observation is that true intelligence in a robot could be recognized - or maybe even defined - by its ability to violate the Three Laws. That's pretty deep for what is basically an action movie.

"the CGI robots and the way they moved and looked appeared *really* fake, even by the standards of ten years ago"

Actually, the fluid motion of the robots is a key feature of the story, and works extremely well in making them scary. These aren't your Robbie the Robot clunkers - they're physically far superior to humans in every way. That seems like a pretty reasonable extrapolation. Any technology capable of building an anthropomorphic robot of this sophistication would surely give it mechanical capabilities to rival its mental ones.

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fung0

Re: Nahh, the old Star Trek was for nerds...

"Stop whining about what makes other people happy you miserable old git."

I couldn't care less what entertains the kind of mindless, nutless, soul-less moron that would enjoy the current Trek reboot films. What I do mind is when those morons usurp a franchise that I care about, one that has long stood as a bastion of intelligence and compassion in a wasteland of overblown fantasy epics masquerading under the trappings of space opera or actual SF.

In fact, the demolition of Trek has been so thorough, I have to believe that it was malicious. Someone decided that the public didn't deserve a show that might lead it to think of higher things. A series that might speak of a brighter future, and how we might achieve it. So they took the Trek tropes and drove them relentlessly down to the lowest level of stupidity. That's offensive, no less than spitting on someone's flag.

You want dumb, go ahead and create your own brainless franchise, instead of deriving some kind of sick pleasure from demolishing one of the few intelligent ones. Trek has been taken away from its fans by the schoolyard bullies, whose highest aspiration is spoil what they can't understand or appreciate.

I console myself with the realization that these Trek films will come and go, but their eager audience will remain sub-human, forever locked out of the treasure-house of great art and visionary ideas.

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fung0

Re: Nahh, the old Star Trek was for nerds...

The real key to the greatness of Star Trek TOS was the show's emphasis on actual SF ideas, driven by a ground-breaking use of actual SF authors for scripts. I can't think of another continuing (non-anthology) series where you might have seen an accumulation of names like Sturgeon, Bloch, Brown, Spinrad and Ellison. The show also gave a start to some great new writers, most notably David Gerrold. Even Dorothy Fontana, the in-house script editor, ended up turning in some excellent work.

The early Trek movies tended to hit a much lower standard, but at least paid lip-service to the original tradition. Meanwhile, the TV sequels continued to emphasize intelligent writing - with challenging SF ideas in STNG, and really strong political drama in DS9.

By comparison, the recent Trek reboots have been consistently bereft of intelligence, drama, or even basic logic. They make the Transformers films look like works of genius. I can only hope that the upcoming Trek TV series won't be able to get away with that kind incompetence, going up against the really strong SF/fantasy/superhero series we're seeing these days on Netflix, HBO and elsewhere.

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fung0

I am amazed at the narrow-minded hatred for I Robot - a really good action-SF film, with Will Smith doing a fine job as the hero, beautifully supported by Alan Tudyk as Sonny, the philosophising robot.

No, the film doesn't follow any of Asimov's stories. But it does expand on Asimov's Three Laws in a very intelligent way - more than intelligent enough to support what is essentially an effects-driven action film. It's not like Asimov's writing was all that magical, either. His ideas were great, but his writing tended to be pretty dry. (Recall that he wrote a future history of the human race, in three thick volumes, without including even one female character. We're not talking Tolstoy here - or even Tolkien.)

Apart from its other virtues, I Robot (the film) is the best warning ever against the dangers of automatic updates. It's a very sharp observation, especially coming so many years before Microsoft's current cloud-based software coup d'etat.

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Microsoft's Windows 10 nagware goes FULL SCREEN in final push

fung0

Re: Games

CHarles 9: "Given the history of OpenGL, and the fact DX12 provides a two-fer (WIndows AND Xbox One, the PS4 IIRC uses a custom library not affiliated with Vulkan), I doubt it. OpenGL couldn't overtake DirectX then. I don't think they'll do it now, especially given how long Valve's been trying to push Linux gaming to try to push Microsoft off the pinnacle...without success (in fact, several developers have sworn off Linux development due to difficulties)."

This is a very superficial view.

* Adding Xbox One to Windows 10 still doesn't give you anywhere near as big a market as adding Windows 7 to Windows 10. Then throwing in Linux (including SteamOS) and Android.

* Xbox One is currently getting killed in the console market, largely because Microsoft keeps promoting it with 'features' - like media support, or Windows 10 compatibility - that have nothing to do with gaming. I doubt there's anything that will let it catch up with the PS4 at this point.

* As I've noted earlier, even after Windows 10 has been a year on the market, there are still only a tiny number of DirectX 12 games. Time was, Microsoft would launch a new version of DirectX with some great showcase titles day one. Now, we're seeing no major support at all. This leads me to wonder if developers haven't been holding back, waiting to see how technically viable Vulkan will be, given its obvious market advantages over DirectX. (I haven't head about developers swearing off Linux, but there are always "difficulties.")

* Valve has not been pushing Linux much longer than Microsoft has been pushing Windows 10. They've already vastly increased the base of Linux games, helped promote the rise of Vulkan, and pushed hardware companies to improve their Linux driver support. They've also encouraged a lot of gamers, like me, to try Linux, and to discover how great it feels to be free of Microsoft's eternal BS.

* Linux is already a vastly superior platform for everything but games. There's none of Microsoft's obfuscation and DRM to make troubleshooting a hellish process. No annoying attempts at lock-in, with non-standard file formats or UI alterations (the Ribbon, Metro, Charms, etc.) or cloud services. No advertising. Given the privacy concerns in Windows - which Microsoft's closed-source approach cannot fully allay - many governments are looking at a total shift to Linux. Businesses are supporting Windows based mostly on momentum, but that could change any time, given that Microsoft is only going to double down on its current ruinous strategy.

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fung0

Re: Games

All your games so far run on Windows 7. But if Microsoft makes any headway with DirectX 12, you'll soon be forced to install Windows 10.

Fortunately, Vulkan is coming up very strongly as a superior alternative to DX12. The dearth of DX12 games - even a full year after the release of Windows 10 - gives me a great deal of hope. I'm not eager to change my working OS (yet again), but the way Microsoft is behaving, we need to have that option wide open.

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fung0

Re: Over 300 million people...

"Over 300 million people have upgraded".

Is that a lie?

If it's not an exaggeration of some sort, Microsoft's marketers aren't earning their pay.

'Windows 10 installs not including new system sales' would be an interesting metric to have. So would the reduction in number of active Windows 7 systems - since that's one of Microsoft's primary goals.

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fung0

Re: Over 300 million people...

The Original Steve: "So 30% of the way there after 30% of the time."

Actually, at BUILD before the launch they were showing slides saying 1 billion in 1 year. Then it quietly slid to 2 years. Now it's become 2-3 years. Google (or Bing) your way back through their announcements - the ones they haven't deleted or retconned.

Either way, Android will be at 2 billion soon, making Microsoft's 350 million look like a dismal failure. Especially with the new Android N crowding in on Windows-like functionality. Not that I'm an Android fan, especially - but this is what's driving Microsoft's desperation.

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fung0

Re: Blue Screen of Despair

Actually, it should be Blue Screen of Desperation.

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The problem with Canada? The price of broadband is too damn high

fung0

Re: Why the confusion? Canuck Governments have never heard of conflict of interest.

The CRTC is run by career bureaucrats - lawyers, mostly. For instance:

Jean-Pierre Blais

Good point about cellular, though. It's much worse than broadband. I think the two competitive landscapes are very different.

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fung0

Re: a few hugely vertically and horizontally integrated companies

There's no question that 'vertical integration' of content and communications is a really bad idea. However, the situation in Canada is better than in many other places.

It's true that the Tories were little help. But the CRTC is a 'quasi-judicial' body, which operates with a surprising amount of independence from the elected government, and which over recent years has shown a surprising amount of intelligence in dealing with the Internet. The CRTC also has the teeth that the FCC lacks in the US. Listen to the transcripts of some of its recent hearings. The big telcos (other than Bell) are very humble before the CRTC.

As for Rogers, I like to say that for a huge, evil corporation, they're not that bad. All ISPs are horrible, as the saying goes - but Rogers is less horrible than most. I'm paying them for 150Mbps service, and getting 200Mbps. Whenever I have a disagreement with their tech support, I invariably discover that they're right and I'm wrong. I've also spoken with various Rogers executives at various times, and always been surprised at how self-aware and forward-looking the company is. Sure, they're squeezing the consumer for every dime - but they're doing it in a smarter way than a lot of other telcos. (Especially those that dominate the US.)

Obviously, Canadians can't be complacent. We should definitely support groups like OpenMedia, and keep up the pressure on both ISPs and the government. All I'm saying is that when listing our complaints, we should also count our blessings. We have reasonably good broadband availability, especially considering our vast geography. And we have numerous ISPs, large and small, competing with each other. If you hate Rogers, you do have alternatives.

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fung0

Re: Pay Per byte

The cost of bandwidth today is asymptotically approaching zero. Charging users by the byte has absolutely nothing to do with efficiency, and everything to do with monopolistic control of the medium.

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fung0

Re: +1 for OpenMedia

OpenMedia is doing some great work, but I find them a bit opaque. For a start, why wasn't founder Steve Anderson - or at least a current Board member - available for The Reg to interview? Meghan Sali's title is not mentioned in the article, but she appears far down the OpenMedia Who We Are page as a "Communications Specialist." I'm sure she's a swell person, but it's hard to get any real insight into an organization that leaves media relations to a junior flack, and makes the actual decision makers inaccessible. Trevor Pott has done enough work for The Reg and other outlets to have rated better than this.

Regarding the article, I think either OpenMedia or Trevor Pott might have pointed out that data caps are already on their way out in Canada. All the major ISPs now have un-capped plans, and prices are steadily coming down. There are two big reasons for this, neither of which has much to do with OpenMedia. First, there's real competition between ISPs, mainly because the CRTC mandated years ago that big Canadian wire owners must make bandwidth available at wholesale rates to smaller providers. Second, the two biggest ISPs, Rogers and Bell, have very different approaches. Rogers is surprisingly forward-looking, with plans to make its own cable TV operations obsolete. Bell is the reverse, and has repeatedly demanded that the CRTC tailor the rules to protect its archaic 'linear TV' business model. (The CRTC has declined, and instead gone out of its way to slap Bell down.)

However, the remarks about spying and the TPP are spot on. It's far too soon to "loathe" Trudeau, who has done some surprisingly good things since being elected. But the TPP will be his real test, and so far, there's every indication that he'll fail do the right thing and axe the odious totalitarian monstrosity. As in other countries. the decision will need to be influenced by massive demonstrations from the Canadian public. If OpenMedia can help make that happen, more power to them.

Like Trevor, I'm very glad that OpenMedia exists. I just wish it was a little less efficient and a lot more, well... open in its own operations. But I fear that this is a problem that afflicts all such political action groups - they quickly take on an institutional life of their own, and lofty ideals easily get subsumed in the day to day work of keeping the business going.

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Those Xbox Fitness vids you 'bought'? Look up the meaning of the word 'rent'

fung0

Re: There's an old saying

problem is that Microsoft has billions still to burn before they finally fold

It's not a question of cash, or even cash flow. It's stock value that will decide Microsoft's fate. Once the stock price starts to slide, the ship will sink. (Leaving behind a lot of floating rats.)

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Windows 10 market share jumps two per cent

fung0

Re: Upgrade ? Not really.

Boothy: The only thing I've found that seems to be a genuine 'upgrade' is DirectX 12. But that's only really relevant to gamer's.

The excitement about DirectX 12 must surely be waning, given that, almost a full year after launch, there are still no significant, fully-commercial games that support it.

In the olden days, Microsoft had games rolling out Day One to support and promote its latest DX platform. As I've pointed out previously, it just might be significant that the guy in charge of gaming at Microsoft calls himself the "Head of Xbox"...

It also might be relevant that when Bethesda recently showed its new Doom running at 200fps on the latest GPU, they were using a version based on Vulkan, not DX12. Vulkan will allow developers to target every version of Windows, plus Linux, plus (eventually) the Mac. DX12 hits only that sliver of Windows 10 adopters. Which API makes the most sense at this point?

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fung0

Re: The other columns

Gartner recently reported that in Q1 2015, Microsoft’s share of the global smartphone market was about 2.5%. In Q1 of this year, it had dropped to 0.7%. Clearly, everyone is really excited about this Windows 10 ‘universal platform’ thingy…

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fung0

Re: PC upgrades were compelling...

Microsoft lost faith in the PC, even though they were exactly the one company that should have been supporting it. They previously did the same with the tablet and the handheld.

Today, we're seeing a huge chance for revitalizing PC demand - VR - which just happens to be yet another paradigm-shifting technology that Microsoft has somehow managed to completely avoid! Instead, we hear rumors of a VR-capable Xbox One (maybe two years from now), indicating that instead of accepting a free gift to the PC - its core product - Microsoft continues to follow some demented corporate roadmap of its own.

Intel is clearly doing its best, but it's an uphill battle without a proper software partner. Valve has had the right idea, not because everyone is eager for Linux games, but because the PC world really needs an exit strategy from Microsoft's padded cell.

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One ad-free day: Three UK to block adverts across network in June

fung0

Fortunately, most of us are not "too cheap to pay." Netflix, for example, is doing extremely well, even up against so-called "free" (i.e. ad-supported) TV. So are HBO and a bunch of other premium-priced distribution systems.

On the Web, having direct payment as a widely-available alternative would totally change the balance of power, and force advertisers to rethink their current assumption that the universe orbits around them.

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fung0

Re: Ah well.

It's a possibility, in this limited instance. But who will they sue when all users install ad blocking on their own devices?

Mobile is already the advertisers' last refuge, because ad blocking is not as easy to implement on closed platforms as it is on the desktop. But it's starting to happen.

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fung0

Re: Landgrab?

This would be heinous, indeed. But there's no evidence of such a plan in the article. Might as well reserve the condemnation until Three actually makes some move in this direction.

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fung0

Re: move will "revolutionise" mobile advertising

GavinC: "Then be prepared to get the credit card out and pay a membership fee for every site you use."

Credit card at the ready! To paraphrase: "What's so bad about... actually paying for what you want?" Seriously: you don't walk into a store and look at brainwashing tapes to get a discount on a pair of shoes.

Have you looked at what Flattr and Flattr Plus are doing? You allocate a fixed sum per month, as little or as much as you like. At the end of the month, the money gets divided among the sites you use most (provided they also subscribe to Flattr). Today, regular visitors generate on the order of 1 Euro per month in ad revenue for their favorite sites. So even a 10 Euro monthly budget could be enough to eliminate all advertising forever. (There's no reason other providers couldn't offer competing monetization schemes.)

Would I pay that much to restore the direct connection between content creators and users, and take deceitful, money-grubbing, intrusive, entitled advertisers entirely out of the loop? In a nanosecond, I would.

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The 'new' Microsoft? I still wouldn't touch them with a barge pole

fung0

Re: Just a question:

Has Microsoft done ANYTHING original (other than Bob and Clippy)?

A few examples do come to mind:

* drag and drop

* the taskbar, the toolbar

* ClearType

* scroll-wheel mice

* SideWinder Dual Strike, SideWinder Freestyle Pro (not successful, but definitely original)

* Surface (the original one, not the laptop)

* DirectX

More-recent innovations like the Ribbon or the Tiled UI have also been original, but it's so much easier to do something no one else has done if you don't mind it being abysmally bad.

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Swedish publishers plan summer ‘Block Party’ to thwart ad blockers

fung0

Re: I dumped AdBlock

"Then look for blocked call back scripts, etc and just unblock those very specific URLs...."

Do advertisers think there's any scenario in which I agree to run their malware-laden software on my computer? If JavaScript were not ubiquitous, the Web would actually be a safe place. Even in some dream world where I was willing to give up uBlock Origin, NoScript would remain firmly in place.

In any case, I've been saying for literally decades (since the beginning of the Web, in fact) that advertisers need an ironclad Code of Conduct, for their own protection. The backlash has been a long time coming, but it's not going to be postponed much longer.

Advertisers have been spoiled by decades of TV and radio, where they play to a captive audience, and enjoy the luxury of forcibly shoving their stinking pile of dog feces in users' faces. Now the shoe is on the other foot: users have the control. Advertisers need to grow up, realize their old business model is obsolete - and decide whether they want to become obsolete with it.

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fung0

Re: They don't understand

Proxomitron! Does that bring back memories... Wonderful little piece of software, provided almost too much control.

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fung0

Re: Catchup

heyrick: "The reason I still use ABP is because it has a really simple element hiding extension that can get rid of such overlays."

With uBlock Origin, the 'element hiding helper' is built in, and far more convenient. uBlock Origin also offers a detailed page log, allowing you to easily identify what the site is trying to load, what is being blocked, and, potentially, what might need to be whitelisted. uBO is a huge leap beyond ABP.

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In this Facebook and Google-owned world, it's time to rethink privacy

fung0

Nobody has mentioned the obvious alternative to Facebook, which has been advocated by Max Schrems: forcing Zuckerberg & company to open their data formats, allowing compatible competing services to interoperate with Facebook.

Open standards are the solution we've favored historically - with most of our mass media (telephone, radio, TV), and even with many physical systems (snail-mail, railroads, air traffic control). In the case of social media, MyBook.com could offer a paid service that would maintain privacy, yet allow posts to interoperate with those on Facebook (subject to whatever degree of granular user control). CheapBook could offer less privacy, at lower cost. FancyBook could offer a nicer UI. Etc. GoogleBook could even allow Google to compete, something they've been unable to do so far.

Facebook is not the leader because it's so utterly fabulous; it's the leader because it's been allowed to turn a useful public service into a de facto monopoly, with ironclad user lock-in. That's not Facebook's choice to make - it's ours. And we can change our mind any time we like.

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Microsoft: Yes, we are going to kill off Enterprise Agreements

fung0

Re: Does this mean no Windows installations will be free from forced updates?

Chika: "Microsoft are in the business to make money. Nothing more than that, nothing less."

Alas, if only that were true. Like most modern corporations, Microsoft is in business to maximize its quarterly stock valuation. Nothing more, nothing less - and nothing longer-term. This pretty much explains most of the company's disastrous policies going back to when Gates left.

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Microsoft Windows: The Next 30 Years

fung0

Re: Half truths

"...windows is not the beginning or the end of operating systems, just the more popular commercial platform to run 3rd party software on personal computers."

You hit the nail on the head. Microsoft disparagingly refers to "legacy support," forgetting that this (Win32) legacy is the only thing that makes Windows dominant. On a purely technical basis, both Linux and Mac OS are at least as good.

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fung0

Re: It isn't last 30/next 30. It's 15/15/15.

"... the basic PC market has matured to the point that most replace the OS when they replace hardware...

@a_yank_lurker - Microsoft certainly believes what you're saying, but it's a self-fulfilling view. People don't upgrade because they can't afford disruption, not because they don't want more functionality. Everyone I know would happily pay Microsoft $100 or more per year, to get nice, non-disruptive feature updates to Windows 7. (Everything worthwhile in Windows 10 could have easily been delivered that way.) Multiply that by over a billion users, and it's a pretty good business model. Release a 'lite' upgrade for Windows XP, and you can add hundreds of millions more.

Take all that revenue and invest it in newer growth markets, by all means - but don't f**k with the goose that lays platinum eggs. That was the key mistake that IBM made - the company thought it was smarter than the market. It forgot that the PC was strong not by virtue of technical superiority, by solely based on market momentum. Interrupt that momentum at your peril.

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fung0

Re: Very interesting article.

The obvious solution for Microsoft would have been to evolve Windows CE/Windows Mobile, and adding a touch-friendly UI. That OS already had huge support - the library of third-party software was enormous, and my old iPAQ can still do things my Android devices can't. (I also don't recall it ever crashing... or spying on me.)

It took about 10 years of persistence to make Windows a success on the desktop; if Microsoft had stuck with WinCE that long, the mobile world today probably wouldn't belong to Apple and Google.

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fung0

Re: @fung0

The comparison to the iPad is not mine, it's Microsoft's. And a lot of pundits are going with it. Even 'tablet' stats are now starting to include Windows 'convertibles.' (Quite wrongly, I would contend.)

I do agree that the Surface is a good laptop.

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fung0

Re: Hammer that code

"The fact that they do not have to develop two UIs should mean that the phone gets any new feature or fix more promptly."

If Microsoft is only going to develop one UI, it should be the Windows UI, not some hastily-concocted tablet UI. The Windows UI has a 30-year legacy to support. Switching one or two billion users just to make a few phone users happy is insanity.

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fung0

The strategy of stupid

Microsoft has repeatedly demonstrated the right way to move into the future: make the big paradigm shifts optional, and allow users to adopt them at their own pace.

They did it with the shift from command-line DOS to GUI Windows. The latter ran on top of the former (quite nicely) for a decade or more, allowing users to use both modes as they needed. Even when the DOS underpinning was removed, the DOS box maintained backward compatibility elegantly and conveniently.

They did it again with the shift from the Win 9x codebase to the far more sophisticated NT codebase. The two versions of Windows coexisted happily for nearly a decade. (We've recently discovered that Windows 3.x is still doing its job out in the field, in some pretty major applications. That kind of longevity is a good thing, except maybe to corporate bean-counters.)

But Ballmer and Nadella forgot those brilliant examples. They decided, quite wrongly, that the way to embrace mobile was to mutate the core OS and bludgeon users into coming along. Even Apple wasn't that arrogant. This strategy will fail, not because users hate it (which they do), but because it's not technically feasible. It's one of those software feats that looks workable, but in practice breaks down for a million small reasons.

For example, Microsoft may be able to squeeze Windows 10 onto mobile devices, but those devices will never be as mobile as those running a dedicated mobile OS. It's like Achilles and the Tortoise: by the time the Surface is as thin as an iPad, the iPad will be as thin as a sheet of paper. An awkward hybrid, Windows 10.x is guaranteed to always be second-best. Not to mention buggy, unusable and un-maintainable. (Linux is already vastly easier to install and service, and the gap is widening, not shrinking.)

Microsoft has become IBM. It seemed inconceivable in the early 1990s that there could ever be a microcomputer world without IBM as a significant force in it. But all it took was a few bad strategic choices - choices that were probably not as dumb as those Microsoft is making today.

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Samsung Gear VR is good. So good 2016 could be year virtual reality finally makes it

fung0

Re: Film makers?

"I have to confess to being a bit skeptic regarding immersive VR films as an art medium (and I use that term in the broad Hollywood sense)."

VR will be a great medium for storytelling, but it will be an entirely new medium, that will need to evolve new ways of telling those stories. Comparisons to film are misleading at best.

Having spent some time in various VR systems, I suspect that we don't really have a clue what the ultimate mix of applications will be. Just as when HDTV came out, all the talk was about movies. But what really changed were talk shows, concerts and above all nature documentaries. There are now whole channels consisting of people pointing a camera (often from a helicopter) at something interesting. HD enabled a whole new 'window on the world' type of entertainment. VR is a bigger paradigm shift, and it will bring bigger surprises.

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fung0

Re: VR makes me want to hurl

"There will still be the discontinuity between what my body/inner ear is doing and what my eyes see."

A lot of this is circumstantial. My first try with an Oculus Rift, I immediately started to get queasy. Then I realized I was spinning around like a Dervish, doing things I'd never do in the real world. Once you adjust your behavior to be more 'normal' - making more deliberate movements - most of the problem goes away.

Content developers will also need to take this into account, of course. They can control the experience in various ways, to minimize problems. Also, what we loosely call 'VR' encompasses a huge range of experiences. I suspect there will be some that anyone can enjoy, and others that will be more... challenging.

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Mozilla annual report shows risky Google dependency now risky Yahoo! dependency

fung0

Re: The problem

"FF42 is using 1.3G and it gets worse and worse as you keep browsing."

I just checked Process Explorer, and what do you know - 1.1GB. That sounds pretty bad, but bear in mind I have 2 Firefox windows open with several hundred tabs (though only a small subset are loaded). I wonder if Mozilla is trying to boost performance by using more RAM?

"It's almost like the modern versions of FF act like old Windows 98, using all all available RAM and getting slower and slower until you have to restart it to get it running fast again."

Using all 'available' RAM is not in itself a bad strategy - empty RAM is wasted RAM. Also, RAM gets cheaper all the time. I have 16GB in my current system, so if Firefox could run like the blazes by using 1, 2 or 3GB, that might be a pretty good deal.

But the real question is efficiency, of both code execution and memory use. Unfortunately, I suspect Firefox (like most browsers, including Edge) is being optimized to deliver blistering benchmarks when loading a single page. There's probably room for huge improvements in handling multiple tabs and multiple extensions.

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fung0

Re: The problem

When as functional as Firefox Edge becomes, run as fast it will not.

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Why Microsoft yanked its latest Windows 10 update download: It hijacked privacy settings

fung0

Re: people's unique advertising ID numbers

If everyone could be expected to turn it off, would Microsoft have bothered building it in? (Instead of, say, using those development resources to create features that people might actually want...)

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UN privacy head slams 'worse than scary' UK surveillance bill

fung0

Re: The UK surveillance bill...

"Taking part in any democratic process requires the option of anonymity."

Excellent point! Without the secret ballot, democracy cannot exist. And the odd thing about democracy is that it actually does work - when it's truly allowed to.

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fung0

Re: The more I think about all this

"How can you square away the need for privacy with the need to protect the State from all threats?"

It would be idiotic to even try. Any civilized society must accept a certain minimal level of personal risk. By far the most effective way to minimize that risk, to "prevent crime," is to remove the root causes - feed the poor, heal the sick, shelter the homeless, educate the ignorant. And above all, stop making vicious, needless war, raining death down on entire nations in some insane effort to punish a tiny minority of radicals.

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fung0

"Where do you think all the intelligence used for targeting missile strikes at specific people comes from?"

It's been well-established that US drone targeting info comes mainly from cell phone metadata. It's a big reason these "surgical" strikes create so much collateral damage.

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fung0

Re: For-profit privacy invasion

"Who does Vince Cerf work for now?"

Cerf's 'logic' shapes itself rather well to his own convenience. In fact, Google proves conclusively that privacy is a thing, and that it's extremely valuable. Otherwise, how could this huge corporation build a vastly profitable business model on the idea of selling it?

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Windows 10 is an antique (and you might be too) says Google man

fung0

Re: Awful

The fact that application installation in Windows is a Byzantine procedure hardly seems like a strong defense of Windows.

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fung0

Re: FTFY

GNU/Linux is vastly important for reasons other than numerical adoption rates. It is, in fact, our only hope of keeping commercial OS vendors even marginally honest. Putting it down is thus only cutting your own throat, regardless of which OS you're rooting for.

Linux also happens to be a nicer OS right now than any of the commercial OSes, in most ways. That has to count for something, even if the great mass of users remains shackled to commercial OSes - chiefly as a consequence of those OSes' massive software applications support, not their technical superiority.

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fung0

Re: Sherlock

I got a Surface Pro exactly because I didn't want to buy both a tablet and a laptop, nor bring around both. And run anyway the same software with no limitations.

"No limitations"...? A device that's both a tablet and a laptop is like a Swiss Army Knife. Most people, most of the time, would rather have a proper knife, fork and screwdriver. Nobody eats supper with a spork unless they absolutely have to.

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fung0

Re: Revisionist

It's true that XP did have a goofy look out of the box. But the Fisher Price dressing was entirely optional, and fully configurable. In 'Classic' mode, XP looked just like W2K, and a lot like Win9x. More importantly, in any view XP worked much the same as Win9x - all the controls were instantly familiar. You could even open up an Explorer window to work like Program Manager - the transition was painless.

Improvements in XP were not immediately obvious. I initially switched from W2K because there was really no reason NOT to. But XP totally won me over within a month or two, as I found one nagging problem after another that had been fixed, one task after another that had been streamlined. XP was like a refined version of W2K - subtly better in many ways, worse in NONE.

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Sysadmins can forget PC management skills, says Microsoft

fung0

MS are trying to kill the traditional idea of desktops and managing and deploying applications, not because that paradigm is broken but because they would rather sell a different style of service.

You've nailed it beautifully.

Call me ungrateful, but I'm reluctant to define my future according to Microsoft's self-interest.

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